A handy guide for calculating your average weekly wage (AWW) in Georgia
When a worker is injured on the job in Georgia, that worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages (also known as “indemnity benefits”). If this is you, you may have questions about how to calculate your average weekly wage (AWW).
What benefits you are entitled to will vary based on different factors, including the length of time you worked at your job prior to the injury as well as the type of work performed.
Below is a general overview of how to calculate your AWW.
For the most accurate estimation, reach out to a trusted and experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney.
What are workers’ compensation indemnity benefits?
Before starting calculations, first it’s important to have a good understanding of what workers’ compensation benefits are and how they work. When an employee in Georgia is unable to work due to a work-related injury, they may be entitled to receive lost income/wage or “indemnity benefits” paid on a weekly basis.
Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation law, the wages paid to eligible injured workers are paid at a specific rate per week.
How to calculate your average weekly wage
The AWW is based on the average of the employee’s wages that were earned during a specific time period prior to the date of the work-related injury.
The following formula can be used to calculate your average weekly wage:
Your annual gross pay prior to occupational injury divided by 52 weeks equals your average weekly wage (AWW). Your AWW is then multiplied by two-thirds (.6667) to get your indemnity benefits compensation rate.
In Georgia, there is a cap of $675 per week for temporary total disability benefits. For temporary partial disability benefits, the cap is $450. These maximums went into effect in July 2019.
For example, let’s say your gross salary (before taxes) was $50,000 per year at the time of your injury. Here’s how you could use the formal to determine your AWW and indemnity compensation rate:
$50,000 / 52 = $961.54 (your AWW)
$961.54 x .6667 = $641.06 (your weekly indemnity compensation rate)
What if you work more than one job?
When an employee has concurrent employment, meaning they are working for 2 or more employers at the time they are injured, the process of calculating the average weekly wage is a bit different. In such instances, if the employee is not able to return to either job, Georgia state law allows for the wages from both employers to be used in the average weekly wage calculations.
This is only allowed when the jobs are similar in nature. For instance, if the injured employee works as a cashier at a fast-food restaurant and a supermarket, the duties are considered similar even if the employers are not.
To perform this calculation, the employee’s average weekly wage would be calculated as normal and the sum for both jobs are then added together. For instance, if the employee had an average wage of $300 from one job and $150 from another job, then the resulting average weekly wage is $450.
What if you just started your job?
In the event that you were working for less than 13 weeks before the accident in a non-salaried position, then your AWW may be based on the wages of a similar employee. This is an employee who has the same pay scale as the injured employee, or an employee who is engaged in the same type of job.
When there is not a similar employee whose wages may be used as a substitute, the full-time wages of the injured employee based on their hourly rate may be used as the AWW.
Verification of wages
When filing for workers’ compensation, injured employees must have documentation of their wages. In many instances, such verification can be accomplished through check stubs or W-2s. This can become more problematic in the case of employees who earn the majority of their income through tips, such as those employed in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
If you have questions about how to calculate your average weekly wage or you are having difficulty getting your benefits started, please contact Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys. We would be happy to schedule a free consultation to examine your case, including examining your pre-injury income and hours.
We will also make certain that the most accurate figure is used for the purpose of calculating your AWW while taking any extenuating factors into consideration. We will answer any questions you may have about workers’ compensation or your weekly income benefits.