AB 492 was a “two birds with one stone” bill that was passed during the 2019 legislative session. The bill brought much needed changes to Nevada workers compensation law for both stress claims and the calculation of concurrent wages!
Changes Made to the Statute for Stress Claims.
NRS 616C.180 is the statute that governs claims of injuries or diseases caused by stress in Nevada. Section 3 of NRS 616C.180 states that in order for stress claims to be deemed to arise out of and in the course of employment an employee had to show: 1) the mental injury was caused by extreme stress in the time of danger, 2) the primary cause was an event that arose out of and during the course of his or her employment, and 3) the stress was not caused by his or her layoff, termination or disciplinary action taken against him or her.
AB 492 adds an additional way for first responders to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, a stress claim. Rather than the mental injury being caused by “extreme stress in a time of danger,” a first responder need only directly witness a death or grievous injury, or the aftermath of a death or grievous injury, during the course of his or her employment. The death or grievous injury (an injury that shocks the conscience) could be the result of a number of violent events (a homicide, attempted homicide, suicide, or mass shooting). The first responder need not be at the actual event but could be a paramedic that transported a victim to hospital, a police officer that arrived at the scene and saw the aftermath, or a 911 dispatcher that heard the event on the phone. This is a big change that will help protect those that protect us and provide first responders with needed mental health treatment after horrifying events.
Changes Made to Concurrent Wages in the Calculation of Average Monthly Wage.
Previously, NRS 616C.420 mandated that the Administrator of the Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) of the Department of Business and Industry to provide by regulation for a method of determining average monthly wage. The DIR has provided regulation on how to calculate and what to include in average monthly wage calculations in NAC 616C.420-447. NAC 616C.447, specifically, states that average monthly wage calculations had to include concurrent employment if the second employer was covered by a workers’ compensation policy. This is no longer the case.
AB 492 has amended NRS 616C.420 to now allow concurrent wages earned from: active or reserve military; any federal, state, territorial, county, municipal or local agency; and a private concurrent employer regardless of whether any of the above have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. This statute change will effectively render NAC 616C.447 irrelevant, regarding the notion of a private employer having to have a workers’ compensation policy for those wages to be included.
This means that if you work on the Las Vegas Strip as a guest room attendant and drive for Uber your earnings from Uber also need to be included in the average monthly wage calculations. Likewise, if you are a reserve member of the US Army and are hurt will working your “everyday job” as a bartender at a Las Vegas hotel, they must use your earnings you receive from the military in your average monthly wage. These are awesome changes that could largely impact the amount of TTD and other benefits injured workers receive in Nevada!
The changes made to stress claims for first responders went into effect on June 3, 2019. The changes made to concurrent wages in the calculation of average monthly wage went into effect on July 1, 2019, and apply to any/all claims that are open or filled after that date. This means that if your claim was filed on June 1, 2017, and is currently open then the new changes to concurrent wages apply to your claim.