With the cost of living skyrocketing, many Arizonans are forced to work two jobs to make ends meet. According to the Department of Labor, 8.4 million Americans are working two or more jobs, which represents about 5% of the labor force. About 5 million workers held one full-time job and a part-time job, while about 2 million held two part-time jobs. Either way, millions of people are working hard to support themselves and their families in a difficult economy.
But what happens if a worker is injured at one of the jobs? Now that they are hurt, they cannot go into either job but must instead either rehab or rest at home. Will the worker only receive compensation for one job, or both?
Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC, is an established law firm helping injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits. We excel at cases like these, where we can use our skills to maximize your benefits under the call. Call us to speak with an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney about your situation.
Concurrent Employment & Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Arizona requires that most employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees injured on the job. This requirement reflects a public policy that the workers’ compensation system is the most efficient way of helping injured workers obtain medical care and replace some lost wages.
But what if a worker is employed in two jobs? For example, someone might work two part-time jobs, or they work full-time during the week and then part-time on the weekend. This is called concurrent employment.
Questions arise when a worker is injured at one of the jobs. Imagine Kim works full-time as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home and, on the weekends, works part-time as a sales clerk. If she’s injured at the nursing home, she can’t work either job.
Helpfully, Arizona law requires that workers’ compensation insurance cover both full-time and part-time employees. Further, someone with concurrent employment can typically receive benefits to subsidize lost income from both jobs. That’s only fair.
Are Both Jobs Covered Employment?
There’s a catch: both jobs must be “covered” employment. That is, Arizona law must require that both employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If not, then the injured worker will not receive benefits based on income from both jobs.
Also, businesses are not required to cover independent contractors. Many people work a “gig” job on the weekend or in the evenings which is independent contractor work. That income is not included.
How Much Can You Receive?
Arizona bases a worker’s benefits on their “average monthly wage.” This is the amount they earned in the 30 days before being injured. That can include income from more than one covered job.
Arizona has helpfully changed its law. For too long, Arizona required that both jobs be similar for income from both to count. For example, a person working as a part-time cook at two restaurants could receive benefits based on both jobs, but a part-time cook who worked on the weekends as a math tutor could not. The state abandoned that rule, and now it doesn’t matter if the jobs are similar. What matters is if both are covered.
Typically, a worker requesting total temporary disability benefits will receive 66 and 2/3 percent of their average monthly wage, subject to a maximum amount set by the state. You can estimate your benefits by adding up income from all covered employment for the 30 days before you were hurt and multiplying it by two thirds.
Common Questions with Concurrent Employment & Workers’ Compensation
This is a confusing area of law for many people. Some common issues arise:
- How were you injured? Were you injured at a job where you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance? If not, then your claim will probably be handled by the Special Fund Division.
- How much income do you make in covered jobs? Add up what you earned from all jobs covered by workers’ compensation. Many people are confused because they want to add in “gig” and other independent contractor income, but that’s not covered employment.
- How serious are your injuries? Some injuries will respond well to treatment, so you can return to light duty, either at your old job or a new one. Someone on light duty can still qualify for benefits. They are calculated by finding the difference between your average monthly wage and what you make on light duty. You get 66 and 2/3 percent of the difference.
- Are your injuries permanent? Some workers suffer blindness or an amputated leg or foot. And some workers can never return to work in any capacity because they are totally disabled. These facts will influence how much compensation you receive.
Consult an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation attorney at our firm. We can review whether you qualify for benefits.
We Can Appeal Inaccurate Wage Calculation
Those engaged in concurrent employment often reach out to us because their employer’s insurance carrier did not include all of their income from covered employment. Instead, the insurer only included the wages they pay you and submitted this information to the Industrial Commission.
When you receive your Notice of Average Monthly Wage, review the information carefully. Make sure income from a second job is included. If not, you can request a hearing with the Industrial Commission to review your case. You have a limited amount of time (90 days from the date your notice was mailed). One of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Arizona will gladly help with this process to ensure your average monthly wage is properly calculated.
Call Snow Carpio & Weekley, PLLC, Today
Getting injured on the job throws a wrench into most family’s finances. Having an employer fail to count all income is also frustrating because you are counting on receiving as many benefits as possible while you are injured.
Call our law firm today to talk about your on-the-job injury and available benefits. We can assist anyone denied benefits, and we can provide other helpful tips for maximizing your claim after a workplace accident.