Q: Are time loss benefits under the Industrial Insurance Act/Worker’s Compensation Act different for seasonal workers versus non-seasonal workers?
A: Yes. In brief, seasonal workers have their time loss paid based on their average monthly earnings over a 12-month period before the industrial injury. Non-seasonal workers have their time loss benefits paid based on their rate of pay at the time of injury, regardless of their earnings history. However, if the Department of Labor and Industries labels you as a seasonal worker, you should not accept that classification without having it reviewed by an attorney. Current Department policy conflicts tremendously with the current status of court decisions on what constitutes seasonal versus non-seasonal or full-time work. For example, the Department often labels a farm worker who is employed nine to ten months out of the year as seasonal, while a construction worker employed nine to ten months out of the year will be labeled as non-seasonal, the latter receiving a greater time loss rate merely because of the way the Department treats farm workers as a whole. Be aware that the number of months worked in a year may not be indicative of whether a worker is seasonal or non-seasonal. There are many other facts that need to be considered, so you should always consult a person experienced in this area to review your time loss rate after the Department has made its final determination as to your time loss rate. Learn more about workers’ compensation claims.