A question that we often field at Tabak Law is, why am I not entitled to lost wages for every day I miss? I will aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the often time nuanced “three day waiting period rule” below.
Three-Day Waiting Period
In addition to medical, hospital and doctors’ expenses, the law provides for the payment of weekly benefits for temporary and permanent disability. One of the most difficult concepts for someone new to workers’ compensation is the three-Day waiting period.
Three-Day Waiting Period For Temporary Disability
To eliminate minor claims for temporary disability, the law requires a three-day waiting period for all disabilities lasting seven days or less. (Sundays are not included in the three days unless the employee usually works on Sundays.) Temporary disability benefits are never paid for the day of injury.
No Waiting Period Required If Out Over Seven Days
If, because of the injury, the employee is unable to work at any time after the 7th day of injury, compensation is paid for the entire period including the three-day waiting period. Payment for the lost time will include all days of disability up to that date, but not including the date of injury. If an injury causes both temporary and permanent disability, there is no waiting period and temporary benefits start from the first day. For example, amputations causing a day or two loss of work payments are required for temporary disability and the PPD disability caused by the amputation.
Wis Stat. 102.43 If the injury causes disability, an indemnity shall be due as wages commencing the 4th calendar day from the commencement of the day the scheduled work shift began, exclusive of Sundays only, excepting where the employee works on Sunday, after the employee leaves work as the result of the injury an shall be payable weekly thereafter, during such disability. If the disability exist after 7 calendar days from the date the employee leaves work as a result of the injury and only if it so exist, indemnity shall also be due and payable for the first 3 calendar days, …..
Wis Stat. 102.43 is the section of the Worker’s Compensation Act outlining the waiting period, however, when reading this section, one is still left confused. Let me try and clarify DWD’s interpretation of 102.43.
- There is a work related injury that causes an employee to leave work during a work shift. (Meaning the employee is absent from part of his/her work shift.)
- Leaves work as the result of the injury,” means leaves the employers premises. (Insurance letter 431 also attached for your reference.)
- The last day worked will be the day the employee leaves the employers premises, during a work shift, as a result of the injury.
- The three day waiting period will be the 3 days after the employee leaves the premises, during a work shift, as a result of the injury, regardless of whether or not the employee is actually off of work.
- There is a reported work related injury and the employee completes their shift; they do not return to work the next day (they “stay away”) because of the injury. The last day worked is the day they completed the work shift.
- Sunday is not counted as one of the 3 days in the 3-day waiting period unless the employee works on Sunday.
- Sunday is always counted in the 7 days for determining if a disability exists beyond the 7th day after the last day worked.
- Sundays are not paid regardless of whether or not the employee normally works on Sunday.