DC: Average Weekly Wage Must Include Housing Allowance Provided to Employee

DC: Average Weekly Wage Must Include Housing Allowance Provided to Employee

The D.C. Court of Appeals recently held that the district’s Compensation Review Board erred in directing an ALJ to disregard a housing allowance that an employer was contractually obligated to pay an employee when calculating the employee’s average weekly wage. In the instant case, the employee had received a promotion and was transferred to Jordan for his duties. He received a pay raise, to $48,000 per year and a housing allowance of $1,200 each month. At the time of his injury, he had only received a few months of that housing allowance. Observing that the applicable statute, D.C. Code § 32–1511(b) provides that the computation of AWW should include the “reasonable value for board and lodging received from the employer” (emphasis added), but disagreeing the Board that because of the use of the word “received,” the statute was “backward-looking,” the appellate court indicated a more holistic approach was required. Here, an honest approximation of the employee’s AWW included not only his salary, but the $1,200 housing allowance.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

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See Young v. District of Columbia Dep’t of Emp. Servs., 2013 D.C. App. LEXIS 776 (Nov. 7, 2013) [2013 D.C. App. LEXIS 776 (Nov. 7, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 93.01 [93.01]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.



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