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Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Law Changes – 2022

All, Property & Casualty

On April 8, 2022, Wisconsin Governor Evers signed 2021 Wisconsin Act 232 into law. The Act makes statutory changes to the workers’ compensation regulations in the state, including modifications to payments for injured workers and part-time employee wage expansion as proposed by the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). Here is an overview of those changes:

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefit Increases

The new law increases the maximum weekly Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefit rate from $362.00 per week to $415.00 for injuries occurring on or after April 10, 2022 and will increase to $430.00 per week for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2023.

Change in Part-Time Worker Wage Expansion

Traditionally, if a part-time employee did not restrict their hours to part-time, or was not deemed “part of a class of regularly scheduled part-time employees”, the employee’s wages were expanded to full-time (40 hours/week) for workers’ compensation benefit calculation purposes.

The law removes the “part of class” section and eliminates wage expansion for an employee who has worked a part-time job for 12 months or more and does not have another part-time job at the time of injury. The average weekly wage (AWW) for such an employee will now be calculated as the greater of:

  1. The Employee’s hourly rate on the date of injury multiplied by the number of hours the employee was scheduled to work in the week or
  2. The Employee’s actual gross earnings from the Employer in the 52 weeks preceding the injury

With the change, a part-time employee’s average weekly wage (AWW) will be expanded to 40 hours only when the employee holds another job at the time of injury or if the Employee has been employed less than 12 months for the employer before being injured.

An Employer may rebut the default expansion of wages to a 40 hour workweek for average weekly wage (AWW) determination by showing proof that the Employee chose to restrict their hours to part-time. Such evidence may include a signed Statement of Self-Restriction limiting their availability to part-time work or to work only with the employer where they were injured or other documentation showing an hour or shift preference.

Key Takeaway

Wisconsin Act 232 provides several updates to the existing workers’ compensation law, especially for employers who have a population of part-time employees. Employers would be well-served to review this Act with their legal counsel and/or workers’ compensation experts to identify potential updates to their policies and procedures.

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