The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled for the first time on whether retirement benefits should be considered when paying workers’ compensation to an injured employee.
The case involved David Evenson who injured his elbow while working at Winnebago Industries in May of 2010. Evenson argued that company contributions to his 401-K plan should be considered when setting the amount of workers’ compensation payments.
The district court upheld an arbiter’s ruling that the 401-K payments were a fringe benefit and not part of his weekly earnings. The Iowa Supreme Court agreed with the lower court.
The ruling says the employee chooses the amount of money put into the retirement account and the company then matches that amount. It says the money is not a part of the employee’s spendable weekly earnings and should not be considered when setting workers’ compensation payments.