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TO AMEND SECTION 42-1-40, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF "AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGES" AS USED IN THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW, SO AS TO INCLUDE THE COST OF HEALTH, LIFE, AND DISABILITY INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS AND TO PROVIDE THAT WHEN ALLOWANCES ARE MADE TO AN EMPLOYEE INSTEAD OF WAGES AS PART OF A VERBAL OR WRITTEN WAGE CONTRACT THEY ARE CONSIDERED A PART OF HIS EARNINGS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 42-1-40 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 424 of 1996, is further amended to read:
"Section 42-1-40. 'Average weekly wages' means the earnings of the injured employee in the employment in which he was working at the time of the injury during the period of fifty-two weeks immediately preceding the date of the injury, including the cost of premiums for any health, life, and disability insurance and retirement contributions paid for by the employee, and subsistence allowance paid to veteran trainees by the United States Government if the amount of the allowance is reported monthly by the trainee to his employer. 'Average weekly wage' must be calculated by taking the total wages paid for the last four quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which the injury occurred as reported on the Employment Security Commission's Employer Contribution Reports divided by fifty-two or by the actual number of weeks for which wages were paid, whichever is less. When the employment,
prior to before the injury, extended over a period of less than fifty-two weeks, the method of dividing the earnings during that period by the number of weeks and parts thereof of it during which the employee earned wages shall must be followed, as long as results fair and just to both parties will must be obtained. Where, by reason of a shortness of time during which the employee has been in the employment of his employer or the casual nature or terms of his employment, it is impracticable to compute the average weekly wages as defined in this section, regard is to be had to the average weekly amount which during the fifty-two weeks previous to the injury was being earned by a person of the same grade and character employed in the same class of employment in the same locality or community.
When for exceptional reasons the foregoing would be unfair, either to the employer or employee, such other method of computing average weekly wages may be resorted to as will most nearly approximate the amount which the injured employee would be earning were it not for the injury.
Whenever allowances of any character made to an employee
in lieu instead of wages are a specified part of a verbal or written wage contract they are deemed considered a part of his earnings."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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