Calculating the wages of a full time employee who earns his or her wages over a period of less time, should not look the same as calculations for an employee who earns their wages during a 12 month period.
When an employee experiences an injury at work, the workers’ compensation system is designed to protect the injured employee, while protecting the employer as well. Injured workers are entitled to medical care and benefits when they must take time off of work to recover. By purchasing workers’ compensation insurance for employees, the employer is protected from an injured employee filing a lawsuit in civil court.
The workers’ comp system determines how much to pay injured workers when they need to take time off due to a workplace injury by paying them two-thirds of their weekly wage. For teachers who sustained a workplace injury, school districts would typically determine their average weekly wage by looking at the teacher’s salary as stated in their contract, and then divide that number by a factor of 52. This would give the district an average weekly wage, and the district would be expected to pay injured teachers two-thirds of that average weekly wage, weekly, for the period of time that they were away from work.
Then the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission discovered that teachers were being underpaid for their time off work because these calculations are off. Other workers may work 52 weeks in a year but teachers generally do not. Dividing the weekly wage by 52, artificially lowers their pay. Rather than a certain number of weeks, teachers’ contracts usually specify a certain number of days that they will be expected to work. The amount that teachers had been underpaid for their time off work was significant and was about $200 less per week than it should have been.
For example, a teacher who earns $40,420 per year earns those wage during the course of a school year which is 188 days. The old system would have the $40,420 divided by 52, which comes out to be a weekly wage of $777.31. The district is required by law to pay teachers two-thirds of this number, which comes out to $518.21 per week during time off of work. But the new calculations have the $40,420 divided by 188, the number of school days teachers work; this equals $215. Then the $215 is multiplied by 5 to get the number that reflects the five working days per week, which equals $1,075. Two-thirds of $1,075 becomes $716.67. The difference in what teachers were receiving and what they should have been receiving is around $198.46 per week.
St. Louis Workers Compensation
Calculating the wages of a full time employee who earns his or her wages over a period of less time, should not look the same as calculations for a full time employee who earns his or her wages during a 12 month period.
The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission realized this mistake during a workers’ compensation case and then took actions to correct the problem.
Missouri employees who are having trouble getting the compensation they are entitled to by Missouri workers’ compensation laws should contact a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney. Navigating such a complicated system on your own can be difficult and having an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and make sure that you are receiving full compensation can help to put your mind at ease while you focus on recovering.
To speak with a St. Louis workers’ comp lawyer,
call the Law Office of Jame M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.
Workers & Industry
photo credit: Cherice