As an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney, I monitor developments in employee benefits and wages, as increases can affect injured workers’ temporary total disability (TTD) rates if they are completely disabled after a workplace injury in Atlanta, or their temporary partial disability rates (TPD), if they are partially disabled after getting hurt at work in Atlanta.
Accordingly, the coming increase in federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour is on my firm’s radar. When minimum wage goes up, other lower-income workers tend to get an increase in wages as well. The unemployment rate increases afterward. This creates scenarios in which injured workers who were previously trying to “work through the pain” will now be more willing to seek medical treatment and/or need income benefits while they search for suitable employment. An increase in minimum wage will often spur the Georgia Legislature to increase the maximum workers’ compensation rate (currently at $500/week).
Thus, while the increased minimum wage may hurt our national economy as small businesses struggle to make a profit with increasing labor costs, it may help injured workers in Georgia who are on (or are seeking) workers’ compensation benefits.