Industrial Commission Revises Wage Loss Guidelines

Kegler Brown E-mployment Alert

The Industrial Commission has amended its guidelines for determination of applications for wage loss compensation contained in O.A.C. 4125-1-01. The revisions are intended to incorporate case law generated since the rule took effect in May 1997. The revised guidelines became effective February 13, 2014 and apply to applications filed on or after that date.

Many of the changes to the guidelines are structural and not substantive. However, the following substantive changes were made:

  • The definition of "present earnings" now contains the following language: "It is a rebuttable presumption that earnings from paid leave provided by the employer will be included in present earnings." 4125-1-01(A)(9)
  • "Present earnings" for a self-employed claimant are defined as gross income less business related expenses. However, there is a rebuttable presumption that a self-employed claimant has gross income of at least 50 percent of the state-wide average weekly wage. 4125-1-01(A)(9)(b)
  • Where the claimant's restrictions are deemed permanent, the examination giving rise to those restrictions must have occurred within 90 days prior to the initial date of wage loss compensation being requested. 4125‑1‑01(B)(2)(d)
  • Permanent restrictions are no longer "required" to be supplemented every 180 days. However, the Bureau and/or self-insured employer "may request" a supplemental medical report regarding the validity of the restrictions every 180 days; claimant then has 90 days to provide the report. 4125-1-01(B)(3)
  • When job searches include online postings, claimants are required to provide a copy of the online posting and verification of the application submission. 4125-1-01(C)(4)
  • A job search for comparably paying work is not required where the claimant has returned to work with the employer of record so long as the claimant remains eligible for temporary total disability (i.e. when claimant returns to light duty work but is not at maximum medical improvement). 4125-1-01(D)(4)
  • Claimant is no longer required to seek suitable employment with the employer of record if to do so would be futile (e.g. claimant previously discharged). 4125‑1‑9(E)(1)(a)(ii)

The complete wage loss compensation guidelines can be found at the Industrial Commission of Ohio's website.