After you are hurt on the job, one of the issues may be that you have missed several days of work. If you cannot return to work, you may be waiting for workers’ compensation to cover your financial losses. That can take time, and if your claim is denied, you’ll be out many days of compensation that you should have received if you’d have been able to work.
If you do get approved for workers’ compensation, you will receive compensation in the form of the average weekly wage you earned over the last four full weeks you worked before you were injured. That payment is based on 40-hour workweeks and will include overtime and other payments you received in that time period.
Missing pay because of a work-related injury
In Louisiana, there is a seven-day waiting period before benefits begin. If you go back to work before two weeks have passed, then you will lose that seven-day waiting period’s money. You might opt to use paid sick time or vacation days to make up the money you lost for being off work at that time.
If you do stay out of work for longer than two weeks, then the seven-day waiting period is paid out to you retroactively. This aspect of workers’ compensation is important to understand if you have a choice about when to return to work because waiting one or two days longer could be more beneficial to you financially.
Why is there a waiting period for workers’ compensation?
It’s better to think about the waiting period as a kind of “deductible” program. Instead of paying for the worker’s wages during that seven-day period, the insurance company waits to see if they will be able to return to work within a two-week pay period. If the employee cannot return, then the “deductible” is waived. If they can, then it is not. The medical care the worker needed is still covered by workers’ compensation, and they may still qualify for other supports, such as a reduced workload, until they feel capable of going back to work at full strength.