|Purpose||To establish or adjust a rate of compensation for time loss claims that fairly represents a worker’s net earnings at the time of their accident or illness.|
When a worker is unable to return to work following a work-related injury, they may be eligible to receive wage replacement or wage top up benefits.
The decision maker communicates with both the employer and the worker to gather a worker’s employment and earnings information and then calculates the worker’s compensation rate.
Obtaining and validating the correct earnings information is vital to setting a rate accurately. It ensures the worker receives the appropriate compensation they are entitled to while they are away from work.
In some instances WCB-Alberta’s internal Payment Unit assists in rate calculations and other compensation payment related tasks.
Compensation rates are based on what a worker was earning at the time of their workplace injury or illness. The compensation rate is based on 90% of a worker’s net earnings, as per Section 56 of the Workers’ Compensation Act. This rate is also referred to as the Section 56 rate.
Net earningsSection 1 (2) of the General Regulations of the Workers’ Compensation Act. means the worker's annual gross earnings to the nearest $100 less the total of:
These deductions are applied regardless of the worker’s actual tax status.
A worker’s net earnings are calculated based on tables produced by the Government of Canada for the prior calendar year.
For accidents or recurrences that occurred prior to September 1, 2018 or that occur on or after January 1, 2021, there is a maximum compensable earnings amount which is set each year by order of the WCB Board of Directors. For accidents or recurrences that occurred on or after September 1, 2018 up to and including December 31, 2020, there was no maximum.
Before a Section 56 rate can be calculated the decision maker must determine the worker's employment status:
Permanent - A worker who is employed for 12 months per year (not including their allotted vacation time) and whose position is not subject to seasonal layoffs.
Non-permanent (also called seasonal or temporary) - A worker who is employed less than 12 months per year and whose position is subject to layoffs, lack of work or shut downs. Contract or temporary workers whose period of employment is less than 12 months are also considered non-permanent workers.
Personal coverage - A worker who has purchased optional WCB coverage. Personal coverage, subject to approval, is available for individuals who employ workers or who are:
Owner-operator - A worker who owns and operates mobile industrial equipment such as a tractor/trailer unit, bobcat, delivery truck, or truck-mounted mobile welding unit. If the owner-operator has purchased personal coverage, the personal coverage process is used to set the rate.
Subcontractor - A worker who is contracted to do work for another employer and incurs business expenses to perform that work. If the subcontractor has purchased personal coverage, the personal coverage process is used to set the rate.