The Georgia Supreme Court recently held that a bus driver’s second job during the summer should be counted as part of her “average weekly wage” in ascertaining how much she should receive in workers’ compensation benefits for an injury suffered in a fall.
In Fulton County Board of Education et al. v. Thomas, the bus driver’s employer never contested that she’d been hurt at work or that the injury was compensable. The issue was how much she should be paid.
In Georgia, the average weekly wage is defined in OCGA 34-9-260, and is properly calculated by looking at what the employee earned in the 13 weeks immediately prior to the injury – whether for the same or another employer – and then dividing that figure by 13. If the employee hasn’t worked the whole 13 weeks, benefits can be determined by looking at the wages of a similar employee in the same employment who worked substantially the whole of those 13 weeks. If neither of those methods is feasible, the full-time weekly wage can be used. Other provisions for more detailed calculations are contained in the statute as well. Continue reading →