Can I Claim Wages from My Second Job After Getting Hurt and Being Taken Out of Work in Virginia?
Under a few conditions, you may be able to keep working a second job and receive wages from it even if you were injured and taken out of your other job. Getting paid by a secondary employer may affect your workers’ compensation. Here’s what happens to your Virginia workers’ comp if you keep receiving paychecks from a secondary job.
Who Pays for Workers’ Comp If I Have Multiple Jobs in Virginia?
In Virginia, workers’ compensation is provided by the employer where your job-related injury occurred. It’s typically paid to you by their workers’ comp insurance company. Even if you have a second or third job, you must file your compensation claim at the job where you were injured. Your concurrent employment (having multiple jobs) should not affect your ability to file for workers’ comp.
Can I Keep Working My Second Job If I’m Taken Out of My First Job?
If your second job is within the physical restrictions given by your doctor, then yes, you may keep working that job even if you have to stop your primary job. However, if your medical restrictions prohibit you from doing any type of work, you should not take any job at all, even if it’s part-time. Doing so will likely become a reason for your workers’ comp to be terminated.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that prior to your injury, you worked as a construction worker for one company and as a bookkeeper for another company. At your construction job, you unfortunately injured your back, and your workers’ comp physician then restricted you from bending and lifting heavy objects. This may prevent you from working construction, but you may still be able to continue bookkeeping, where no heavy lifting happens.
If, on the other hand, the physician also restricted the length of time you can sit at a desk every day, even an office job like bookkeeping may not be suitable for you.
Before you return to any job, make sure your doctor has cleared you for that kind of work. It’s best to have your medical restrictions and clearances put in writing. If you’re uncertain how to proceed, get legal advice from our workers’ comp attorney.
What Happens to My Virginia Workers’ Comp If I Keep Working a Second Job?
If your second job does not violate your work restrictions, your medical and wage loss benefits should continue. However, your comp-paying employer may be able to reduce your wage loss benefits based on the income you’re earning from your second job.
Despite this, you must declare all your income – including that from your other jobs – when you file for workers’ comp. Failing to do so could be construed as workers’ comp fraud.
Note again that if you take on a second job that even slightly exceeds your medical restrictions, you risk losing your workers’ comp benefits.
What If I Can’t Work My Second Job? Will Workers’ Comp Cover Both Jobs in Virginia?
Yes, your Virginia workers’ compensation should cover wage loss from all your jobs, as long as those jobs are similar in nature and that those jobs count as covered employment.
“Similar jobs” in Virginia are those that are in the same industry and require similar skills. “Covered employment” means that the job should be covered by workers’ compensation. For instance, Virginia workers’ comp law generally covers only hired employees and not contractors. If you’re an employee at your primary job but a contractor at your second job, this second job may not be included in your benefits.
How Do I Calculate My Wage Loss Benefits From All My Jobs?
If your second or third job qualifies to be covered by your workers’ comp, you may include them in your Average Weekly Wages (AWW), which is part of the computation of your wage loss benefits. Here’s the formula for average weekly wages:
- [The sum of all your eligible gross earnings from the 52 weeks prior to injury] divided by 52
If your doctor has prohibited you from working any type of job, you likely have Temporary Total Disability (TTD). For this type of disability, your wage loss compensation amount will be two-thirds (66.66 percent) of your average weekly wages. For example, if your AWW was $900, two-thirds of that is $600, which means you’ll get $600 weekly as your wage-loss payment.
Need Advice? Talk to an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Virginia
The Virginia workers’ comp system can be confusing, especially if you have multiple jobs. You don’t want to risk losing your benefits, but you also want to keep all your income streams as much as possible.
Attorney Jaleh K. Slominski can give you sound legal guidance on this. For over 25 years now, she has been helping Virginians maximize their workers’ compensation while protecting their employment rights.
If you have a complicated workers’ comp situation in Virginia, Attorney Slominski is your go-to lawyer. Schedule your consultation – call (434) 384-9400 (in Lynchburg) or (540) 554-3762 (in Roanoke).