TITLE 28
Labor and Labor Relations

CHAPTER 28-39
Temporary Disability Insurance – General Provisions

SECTION 28-39-2


§ 28-39-2 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, as used in chapters 39 – 41 of this title, have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

(1) "Average weekly wage" means the amount determined by dividing the individual's total wages earned for services performed in employment within his or her base period by the number of that individual's credit weeks within the base period;

(2) "Base period" with respect to an individual's benefit year when the benefit year begins on or after October 7, 1990, means the first four (4) of the most recently completed five (5) calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of an individual's benefit year; provided, that for any individual's benefit year when the benefit year begins on or after October 4, 1992, and for any individual deemed monetarily ineligible for benefits under the "base period" as defined in this subdivision, the department shall make a re-determination of entitlement based upon an alternate base period which consists of the last four (4) completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of the claimant's benefit year. Notwithstanding anything contained to the contrary in this subdivision, the base period shall not include any calendar quarter previously used to establish a valid claim for benefits; provided, however, that the "base period" with respect to members of the United States military service, the Rhode Island National Guard, or a United States military reserve force, and who served in a United States declared combat operation during their military service, who file a claim for benefits following their release from their state or federal active military service and who are deemed to be monetarily ineligible for benefits under this section, shall mean the first four (4) of the most recently completed five (5) calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day the individual was called into that state or federal active military service; provided, that for any individual deemed monetarily ineligible for benefits under the "base period" as defined in this section, the department shall make a re-determination of entitlement based upon an alternative base period which consists of the last four (4) completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day the claimant was called into that state or federal active military service. Notwithstanding any provision of this section of the general or public laws to the contrary, the base period shall not include any calendar quarter previously used to establish a valid claim for benefits;

(3) "Benefit" means the money payable, as provided in chapters 39 – 41 of this title, to an individual as compensation for his or her unemployment caused by sickness;

(4) "Benefit credits" means the total amount of money payable to an individual as benefits, as provided in § 28-41-7;

(5) "Benefit rate" means the money payable to an individual as compensation, as provided in chapters 39 – 41 of this title, for his or her wage losses with respect to any week during which his or her unemployment is caused by sickness;

(6) "Benefit year" with respect to any individual who does not already have a benefit year in effect, and who files a valid claim for benefits as of November 16, 1958 or any later date, means fifty-two (52) consecutive calendar weeks, the first of which shall be the week containing the day as of which he or she first files that valid claim in accordance with regulations adopted as subsequently prescribed; provided, that for any benefit year beginning on or after October 7, 1990, the benefit year shall be fifty-three (53) consecutive calendar weeks if the subsequent filing of a new valid claim immediately following the end of a previous benefit year would result in the overlapping of any quarter of the base period of the prior new claim. In no event shall a new benefit year begin prior to the Sunday next following the end of the old benefit year;

(i) For benefit years that begin on or after July 1, 2012, an individual's benefit year will begin on the Sunday of the calendar week in which an individual first became unemployed due to sickness and for which the individual has filed a valid claim for benefits;

(7) "Board" means the board of review as created under chapter 19 of title 42;

(8) "Calendar quarter" has the same definition as contained in chapter 42 of this title;

(9) "Credit week" means any week within an individual's base period in which that individual earns wages amounting to at least twenty (20) times the minimum hourly wage as defined in chapter 12 of this title, for performing services in employment for one or more employers subject to chapters 39 – 41 of this title;

(10) "Director" means the director of the department of labor and training;

(11) "Employee" means any person who is or has been employed by an employer subject to chapters 39 – 41 of this title and in employment subject to those chapters;

(12) "Employer" means any employing unit that is an employer under chapters 42 – 44 of this title;

(13) "Employing unit" has the same definition as contained in chapter 42 of this title and includes any governmental entity that elects to become subject to the provisions of chapters 39 – 41 of this title, in accordance with the provisions of §§ 28-39-3.1 and 28-39-3.2;

(14) "Employment" has the same definition as contained in chapter 42 of this title;

(15) "Employment office" has the same definition as contained in chapter 42 of this title;

(16) "Fund" means the Rhode Island temporary disability insurance fund established by this chapter;

(17) "Partial unemployment due to sickness" For weeks beginning on or after January 1, 2006 an individual shall be deemed partially unemployed due to sickness in any week of less than full-time work if he or she fails to earn in wages for services for that week an amount equal to the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment due to sickness to which he or she would be entitled if totally unemployed due to sickness and eligible.

(i) For the purposes of this subdivision and subdivision (22) of this section, "Wages" includes only that part of remuneration for any work, which is in excess of one-fifth (1/5) of the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment, rounded to the next lower multiple of one dollar ($1.00), to which the individual would be entitled if totally unemployed and eligible in any one week, and "services" includes only that part of any work for which remuneration in excess of one-fifth (1/5) of the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment, rounded to the next lower multiple of one dollar ($1.00), to which the individual would be entitled if totally unemployed and eligible in any one week is payable; provided, that nothing contained in this paragraph shall permit any individual to whom remuneration is payable for any work performed in any week in an amount equal to, or greater than, his or her weekly benefit rate to receive benefits under this subdivision for that week.

(18) "Reserve fund" means the temporary disability insurance reserve fund established by § 28-39-7;

(19) "Services" means all endeavors undertaken by an individual that are paid for by another or with respect to which the individual performing the services expects to receive wages or profits;

(20) "Sickness". An individual shall be deemed to be sick in any week in which, because of his or her physical or mental condition, including pregnancy, he or she is unemployed and unable to perform his or her regular or customary work or services;

(21)(i) "Taxes" means the money payments required by chapters 39 – 41 of this title, to be made to the temporary disability insurance fund or to the temporary disability insurance reserve fund.

(ii) Wherever and whenever in chapters 39 – 41 of this title, the words "contribution" and/or "contributions" appear, those words shall be construed to mean the "taxes," as defined in this subdivision, which are the money payments required by those chapters to be made to the temporary disability insurance fund or to the temporary disability insurance reserve fund;

(22) "Wages" has the same definition as contained in chapter 42 of this title; provided, that no individual shall be denied benefits under chapters 39 – 41 of this title because his or her employer continues to pay to that individual his or her regular wages, or parts of them, while he or she is unemployed due to sickness and unable to perform his or her regular or customary work or services. The amount of any payments, whether or not under a plan or system, made to or on behalf of an employee by his or her employer after the expiration of six (6) calendar months following the last calendar month in which the employee performed actual bona fide personal services for his or her employer, shall not be deemed to be wages either for the purpose of paying contributions thereon under chapter 40 of this title, or for the purpose of being used as a basis for paying benefits under chapter 41 of this title; and

(23) "Week" has the same definition as contained in chapter 42 of this title.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1942, ch. 1200, § 2; P.L. 1943, ch. 1367, § 1; P.L. 1944, ch. 1412, § 1; P.L. 1946, ch. 1744, § 2; P.L. 1947, ch. 1923, art. 2, §§ 1, 2; P.L. 1949, ch. 2176, § 1; P.L. 1950, ch. 2540, § 1; P.L. 1950, ch. 2541, § 1; impl. am. P.L. 1951, ch. 2841, § 2; P.L. 1951, ch. 2842, § 1; impl. am. P.L. 1953, ch. 3206, § 1; P.L. 1955, ch. 3430, § 1; P.L. 1955, ch. 3518, § 1; P.L. 1956, ch. 3673, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 28-39-2; P.L. 1958 (s.s.), ch. 212, §§ 1, 2; P.L. 1962, ch. 58, § 1; P.L. 1962, ch. 133, § 1; P.L. 1964, ch. 121, § 1; P.L. 1965, ch. 224, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 215, § 1; P.L. 1971, ch. 95, § 1; P.L. 1977, ch. 91, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 211, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 272, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 180, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 288, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 289, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 309, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 33, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 42, § 1.)