Paid Vacation Weeks Should Be Included in Total Gross Wages and Number of Weeks Worked When Calculating Average Weekly Wages
Generally, the average weekly wages (AWW) equals total gross wages from the 52 weeks prior to the injury, divided by the number of calendar weeks the claimant was employed during that 52-week time period. C.G.S. §31-310. When making the calculation, we do not include absences of seven or more consecutive calendar days or partial weeks worked either at the beginning of employment or on the week of injury. Id.
However, the Appellate Court in Menard v. Willimantic Waste Paper Co., 2016 Conn. App. LEXIS 77 (2016), had to determine whether the weeks for paid vacation should be included in the number of weeks worked (divisor). The claimant argued that the vacation pay should be included in the amount of gross wages, but excluded from the number of weeks worked, which would effectively increase the compensation rate. The court held that any weeks of paid vacation time are not considered an absence of seven or more consecutive calendar days, and accordingly, should be included in the divisor of the statutory formula for calculating the AWW. The ruling in Menard does not address whether vacation pay should be included in the gross wages, however, we recommend including vacation pay into the gross wages and number of weeks worked.