Labor Code Section 4659(c), included in AB 749, the workers’ compensation benefit increase bill passed in 2002, requires that for injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2003, permanent total disability (PTD) payments be increased each year by the percentage increase in the state average weekly wage (SAWW).
The Labor Code’s formula for calculating the change in the State Average Weekly Wage calls for the use of California SAWW figures from the first quarter of each calendar year, as determined by the US Department of Labor. The 2002 and 2003 figures are noted below:
1st Quarter 2002 California SAWW: $794.95
1st Quarter 2003 California SAWW: $790.50
California workers’ compensation claims administrators should note that because there was a decline in the State Average Weekly Wage between 2002 and 2003, no change in PTD payments will be required under Labor Code Section 4659(c) as of Jan. 1, 2004.
The Department of Labor has posted California’s 2002 SAWW figure online at: http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum02/1stqtr/finance.asp#California
and posted the 2003 figure at: http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/content/data_stats/datasum03/1stqtr/finance.asp#California.
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