Maine WC Alert: Appellate Division Addresses Seasonal Worker AWW Calculation in Context of “Initial Hauling” of Forest Products

Maine Workers' Comp Alert

Section 102(4)(C) of the Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the “seasonal worker” average weekly wage (AWW) calculation does not apply to any employee customarily employed for more than 26 weeks in a calendar year, except it includes “any employee who is employed directly in agriculture or in the harvesting or initial hauling of forest products.” Under the seasonal worker provision, the AWW is determined by dividing total earnings for the prior year by 52.

In Lilley v. CT Sides, Inc., WCB No. 18-27 (October 12, 2018), the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division affirmed a finding that the employee was involved in the initial hauling of forest products, notwithstanding the argument that “initial hauling” should be limited to hauling logs from the place in the forest where they were severed to the road. The Appellate Division found that the act of hauling fresh cut logs from the woods to a log yard or mill constitutes the “initial hauling” of forest products, triggering the seasonal worker AWW calculation under section 102(4)(C).