If you have sustained an on the job injury and are entitled to a weekly benefit under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act you should look through your entire benefit package. You may have received fringe benefits that should be valued and added to your AWW which will result in an increase in your weekly benefit.
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Massachusetts General Laws Ch 152 sec 1(1), which deals with Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation benefit claims, defines Average Weekly Wage (AWW) as the earnings of the injured employee during the period of 12 calendar months immediately preceding the date of injury divided by 52. Calculating an AWW, which forms the basis of an injured workers weekly benefit is a question of fact. Not all earnings which should be included as part of an injured workers AWW are reflected on an employee’s W2.
For example, tips, room and board and sales commissions would be added to the AWW calculation. Because these technically non-wage benefits are so closely analogous to wages their value must be added to the calculation of an employee’s AWW. There are various fringe benefits that an injured worker may have received in addition to a salary/hourly wage that must be subjected to “Factual Analysis” to determine if a specific benefit can be valued and added to the AWW.
As part of the factual analysis the court will determine if an injured employee derived any real economic gain from the benefit in question and whether the employee took the position due in part to the benefit in question among other considerations.