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CA Alternative Work wages and hours question - Poseid Atlantean - 07-24-2015

Hello all!!  I need some help/advice.

Earlier this year I suffered an injury that prohibited me to temporarily do the kind of work I do.

For the first few months my employer’s insurance picked up the tab for my paycheck.  On the 5th month I sense they pushed for my employer to give me some sort alternative work I could do in an office (my normal job is not an office type job).  They finally did offer me a job to come in and do random menial things at the office while I recover.

This is the issue,  I read that CA law states that for Alternative work, my wages cannot be less than 85% of my pre injury wages.

The type of job I have pays me a minimum guarantee pay of 70 hours a month at lets say 21 dollars an hour.  If I work more than those 70 hours due to operational requirements I get paid the extra at that same hourly amount.  Note this is a minimum guarantee so if I work less than 70 hours I still get paid for those seventy.

Now the problem lies in that they now want me to show up to an office and just sit there for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  If you do the math and take my minimum guarantee pay of 70 hours times $21 an hour, and then divide that monthly total into a normal 40 hour work week, my hourly wage comes out to around 9 dollars an hour!

Can they do this?  This is what is written in the CA injured workers guide book.
  • Alternative work. This is work that is different from your old job and meets the doctor’s work restrictions. It must pay at least 85 percent of the wages and benefits that you were paid at the time of injury. 
I am of the impression that they can’t take my hourly wage and lower it like that while spreading out my required office attendance in this way.   Does that 85% minimum allowed reduction apply only to the total monthly earning amount? or does it also apply to how they pay me hourly.

Thank you all for any helpful advice on this!


RE: CA Alternative Work wages and hours question - California_Help - 07-24-2015

(07-24-2015, 08:51 PM)Poseid Atlantean Wrote: Hello all!!  I need some help/advice.

Earlier this year I suffered an injury that prohibited me to temporarily do the kind of work I do.

For the first few months my employer’s insurance picked up the tab for my paycheck.  On the 5th month I sense they pushed for my employer to give me some sort alternative work I could do in an office (my normal job is not an office type job).  They finally did offer me a job to come in and do random menial things at the office while I recover.

This is the issue,  I read that CA law states that for Alternative work, my wages cannot be less than 85% of my pre injury wages.

The type of job I have pays me a minimum guarantee pay of 70 hours a month at lets say 21 dollars an hour.  If I work more than those 70 hours due to operational requirements I get paid the extra at that same hourly amount.  Note this is a minimum guarantee so if I work less than 70 hours I still get paid for those seventy.

Now the problem lies in that they now want me to show up to an office and just sit there for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  If you do the math and take my minimum guarantee pay of 70 hours times $21 an hour, and then divide that monthly total into a normal 40 hour work week, my hourly wage comes out to around 9 dollars an hour!

Can they do this?  This is what is written in the CA injured workers guide book.
  • Alternative work. This is work that is different from your old job and meets the doctor’s work restrictions. It must pay at least 85 percent of the wages and benefits that you were paid at the time of injury. 
I am of the impression that they can’t take my hourly wage and lower it like that while spreading out my required office attendance in this way.   Does that 85% minimum allowed reduction apply only to the total monthly earning amount? or does it also apply to how they pay me hourly.

For completeness, my Employer is based in Oregon, but I am a California resident and am based here at their CA branch.

Thank you all for any helpful advice on this!

My advice is to get your income records of what you received as income for the last year and average it out and also get the last year you worked before this injuries tax records to show this income. I would then discuss the difference with your employer or claims adjuster. How this is usually handled is they should make up the difference by paying you TTD payments.

In California we have a resource called I&A officers. You can contact them to advise you about this issue as well.

So far it is a good sign your employer is doing what they can to accommodate your injury. Hopefully this wage issue is just an error that can be worked out between you and your employer.



RE: CA Alternative Work wages and hours question - 1171 - 07-24-2015

that section refers to those who have permanent disability and have reached Maximum Medical Improvement.
the employer is given an incentive to accommodate an employee's permanent disability. the law limits and qualifies what can be considered alternative work for the incentive plan in those permanent disability situations.
when you are temporarily disabled, the carrier/employer will make additional disability payments based on the amount of earnings lost. this is called temporary partial disability. wages/hours for modified work when you are temporarily disabled can be at any amount.


RE: CA Alternative Work wages and hours question - California_Help - 07-24-2015

1171, who would you recommend he contact about temporary partial disability payments, his employer or claims adjuster?


RE: CA Alternative Work wages and hours question - 1171 - 07-24-2015

(07-24-2015, 11:30 PM)California_Help Wrote: 1171, who would you recommend he contact about temporary partial disability payments, his employer or claims adjuster?

both.
one provides documentation of the lost wages the other issues the check.