Ruling Regarding Overtime in AWW Overturned

August 28th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

A ruling regarding an Average Weekly Wage (AWW) calculation in Illinois that included overtime was overturned in July, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Bulletin. The ruling will affect any workers’ compensation claimant who has logged a considerable amount of overtime hours, especially if those hours were not consistent or considered mandatory by the company at which the accident occurred. The case involved a worker at an excavation company. The claimant, according to the Bulletin, is a union machine operator, and suffered an injury related to an on-site accident.  Ruling Regarding Overtime in AWW Overturned IMAGE

The operator, according to the Bulletin, logged overtime hours on 60 days in a 73-day period. That’s more than 80 percent of the days considered by the ruling. Initially, a judge ruled that the operator’s overtime hours should be considered when determining his Average Weekly Wage for workers’ compensation benefits. “Upon review,” however, “the Commission modified the arbitrator’s decision to find the claimant failed to prove that his overtime was mandatory or that he worked overtime on a consistent basis.” Even though the claimant worked overtime more than 80 percent of the days in the period considered, this isn’t considered “consistent.” One good reason that the Commission reversed the ruling was due to a lack of evidence presented on the part of the operator.

The importance of having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in the courtroom can’t be understated. One reason for the decision reversal was because “the defendant’s witness testified that there was no consequence for not working overtime.” Yet the decision to overturn was not unanimous. “The dissent noted that although the claimant gave a recorded statement to the claims adjuster that overtime was not mandatory he testified that he meant that no one came to employees with a daily demand to work overtime.”

If you or someone you know has been injured in the workplace, the most important first step is to seek the counsel of a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. Don’t go through it alone. Contact our offices today.



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