In today’s economy, many people have more than one job. So if an employee is injured at one job to the extent that he or she is unable to work at the other, it seems unfair – and financially damaging – to only receive workers’ compensation for one job’s wages.
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, such a situation would, in fact, be unfair. In a recent case, the court ruled that an injured employee’s average and full weekly wages should include earnings from all jobs the employee held at the time of the injury.
In the case, the employee worked part time for the employer, and also held a second job that paid a higher wage. When the employee was injured at the first job, the employer set his average and full weekly wages based only on his earnings at that job, not including what he was earning at the second.
The employee moved to include the wages from both jobs in his average and full weekly wages. In response, the employer argued that it was unfair to force an employer to pay benefits that were more than that employer actually paid the employee, and asked the court to exclude wages from the second job where the two jobs were similar in nature. The court responded that it was not, in fact, unfair to compensate an employee for his lost wages when an injury at one job prevented him from working at another.
The employer also argued that compensating an employee for both jobs would discourage a medically able employee from working at the second job. The court dismissed this as moot, stating that temporary total disability payments are not allowed when the employee is physically capable of working for any employer.
Source: Risk and Insurance, “Earnings from second job boost average weekly wage”, 7 September 2010