A new case came out today in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, dealing with calculation of an injured worker’s Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for workers compensation cases: United Airlines, Inc. v. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The issue was whether a flight attendant’s $230 per diem (don’t worry, she was flying to Japan… she’s not the reason your flight to Vegas was so expensive) counted toward her AWW. The case noted that reimbursement for travel expenses generally isn’t part of the AWW calculation. Makes sense, right? It’s reimbursement, not wages. However, if the respondent can show that the claimant didn’t actually use the whole per diem for expenses, then only the part she did use can be considered for AWW purposes.
The lesson here is that bringing a sack lunch from home doesn’t just save money, it makes money! Or something like that.
(Howard Zimmerle is an attorney in the Quad Cities, and regularly eats lunch from Subway at his desk)