Temporary disability payments are paid at 2/3 of an employee’s average weekly wage (AWW), subject to the minimum and maximum limits of Labor Code Section 4653.
Injury dates occurring on or after January 1, 2015 will be subject to a maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rate of $1,103.29 a week, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. The new rate reflects an increase of $28.65 from California’s current maximum TTD rate of $1,074.64 for 2014 date of injuries. The minimum TTD rate will likewise increase from $161.19 to $165.49.
The explanation for the steady increase in TTD each year is evidenced by Labor Code section 4453(a) (10), “Commencing on January 1, 2007, and each January 1 thereafter, the limits specified in this paragraph shall be increased by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the state average weekly wage as compared to the prior year.”
State average weekly wage, or SAWW is defined as, “The average weekly wage paid by employers to employees covered by unemployment insurance as reported by the United States Department of Labor for California for the 12 months ending March 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which the injury occurred.” Labor Code section 4453(a)(10).
According to the Department of Industrial Relations for the State of California, the Department of Labor has calculated a SAWW increase of approximately 2.666 percent in the 12 months ending March 31, 2014. See the Department of Labor’s findings here: http://www.oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum14/DataSum_2014_1.pdf
The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has also cautioned claims administrators pursuant to Labor Code section 4659(c), other benefits that will be raised by the SAWW increase include TTD paid 2 years or more after injury, life pension and Permanent Total Disability payments for injuries on or after January 1, 2003, and death claim installment payments. Underpayment of benefits results in penalties, so be sure all adjustments are accurate.
For more information on the 2015 TTD increase, visit The California Workers’ Compensation Institute at: http://www.cwci.org/press_release.html?id=397 and The Department of Industrial Relations for the State of California at: http://www.dir.ca.gov/DIRNews/2014/2014-50.pdf.