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How Is Your Average Weekly Wage Calculated?

When you are injured on the job and as a result cannot work, how much you receive in lost wage benefits and in settlement at the end of your case will depend on your average weekly wage (AWW). Most people automatically assume that their hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours they are normally scheduled to work will be their AWW. Sometimes, it can be much more complicated than that.

Section 10 of the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, which controls the average weekly wage, can succinctly be broken down into the 4 methods of calculation.

1.) The average weekly wage is "actual earnings" during the 52 week period preceding the date of injury, divided by 52;

2.) If the employee lost 5 or more calendar days during that 52-week period, whether or not in the same week, then the employee's earnings are divided not by 52, but by the number of weeks and parts of, remaining after the lost time has been deducted;

3.) However, if the employment began during the 52-week period, the earnings are divided by the number of weeks and parts of during which the employee actually earned wages, and;

4.) If the employment is of such short duration or terms of employment are so casual as to make any of the above 3 methods impractical, then the average weekly amount which during the 52 weeks prior to the injury was being or would have been earned by a person in the same grade employed at the same work for each of those 52 weeks for the same number of hours per week by the same employer shall be used.

The first method is the simplest and most straight-forward. If an individual earned

$30,000 and worked a full 52 weeks prior to his injury, his AWW would be $576.92 (30000 / 52).

To give an example of a more complicated scenario, assume an individual, whose amount of work depends on the weather, works a total of 131 days during the previous 52 weeks and earns $30,000. To calculate his average weekly wage, you divide the total earnings for the previous 52 weeks by 131. That resulting number will be his AWW (30000 / 131 = $229.00).

To further illustrate, assume an individual began working for the employer only 24 weeks prior to the accident. To calculate the AWW, take the total earnings and divide by 24 (30000 / 24 = $1250).

If you are injured on the job and have resulting lost wages, please contact our office for assistance. Please do not assume that the adjustor for your employer's Workers' Compensation insurance carrier will properly calculate your AWW. Our office has come across significant errors in these calculations that could have resulted in a substantial loss to the claimant not only in his weekly benefits, but in the value of his settlement as well.

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