How to Calculate Average Weekly Wage

Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates bring over 25 years of experience to every workers’ compensation claim. We believe that injured employees should know the full extent of their rights and their entitlement to benefits after a job-related accident. Our Boston office recovers lost income for disabled workers throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Lost Pay Due to Injury or Illness

When a work-related injury or occupational illness prevents an employee from working for 5 or more days, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents can award cash benefits for lost pay. Weekly cash payments for lost income are one of the most important aspects of workers’ compensation law. The amount and duration of awarded benefits depend upon a variety of factors, including:

  • Partial or total disability
  • Temporary total disability
  • Permanent scarring, disability
  • Lost earning capacity, lower pay
  • Eligibility for vocational retraining
  • Death benefits for spouse, dependents
  • Permanent lost function, disfigurement
  • Necessary and reasonable medical costs

The weekly compensation rate is governed by Massachusetts General Laws. For temporary total disability, weekly payment equals 60% of the worker’s gross average weekly pay, up to a maximum rate set by the state. As of October 2013, the maximum state average weekly wage is $1181.28. Permanently disabled workers receive 2/3 of their gross average weekly wage, which must be greater than the minimum rate (20% of the maximum) or $236.26.

Calculating Average Weekly Wage

When deemed temporarily totally disabled, the insurers must pay weekly benefits equal to 60% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. This refers to gross earnings, before taxes and benefits. To determine the amount of compensation, we use a step-by-step calculation:

  • Take sum of total gross earnings
  • Including overtime or bonus pay
  • For 52 weeks prior to injury date
  • Divide sum by 52 weeks; if shorter,
  • Divide by number of weeks worked
  • Multiply average weekly wage by .60

This calculation approximates the compensation awarded, with adjustments, under MGL c. 152 § 34. For permanent and total disability benefits, multiply the average weekly wage by 66.67% rather than 60%. Any adjustments or reimbursements are calculated from the year of injury beginning on October 1 and ending September 30 of each year.

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

Under Massachusetts General Laws, COLA payments are available when the workplace injury occurs at least two years prior to the October 1 review date each year. For those receiving partial benefits, COLA payments are only awarded to employees whose injury occurred between January 1, 1986 and December 24, 1991, and at least three years prior to the current review date. Applicants may also qualify for adjusted compensation awarded through Social Security disability benefits.

Seek Maximum Benefits

If you require legal assistance calculating your average weekly wage or maximizing your benefits, the Massachusetts workplace disability attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates can help. With over 25 years of experience, we exhaust all avenues of relief, working to maximize your weekly cash payments. Kantrovitz & Associates has helped injured workers recover lost income, medical expenses, and other disability benefits in Boston, Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, Plymouth, Norfolk, and Merrimack Counties, among others. Call (800) 367-0871 today to speak with one of our lawyers or contact us online.