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Are Temporary Employees Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

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Worker’s compensation claims are often complex and stressful by nature. If you’ve been injured on the job, not only do you have to deal with the injury itself. Medical expenses, claimant forms, and possible loss of work must be managed for a period of time. This alone can be confusing, but if you are injured as a temporary employee, the situation can be even more convoluted. The type of employees eligible for worker’s comp varies widely from state to state. Luckily, most temp workers in the state of California are considered employees, with only a handful of exceptions.

The Definition of Employee Can Vary

When filing a worker’s comp claim, you must first ensure you are covered. Not all states require that businesses buy worker’s comp coverage, and even those that do require coverage can be vague in their definitions of what an employee is.

For example, independent contractors, like freelance workers, are not eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. However, it is not uncommon for companies to classify workers as independent contractors when they should actually be considered legitimate employees.

Traditionally, volunteers are not considered employees, though some industries will opt into coverage, such as fire departments who hire volunteer firefighters. In addition to these types of employees, there are several other workers who are exempt from worker’s compensation, including:

  • Agricultural workers. In many states, agricultural workers and farmers are not eligible for worker’s compensation.
  • Domestic workers. Housekeepers, babysitters, and other domestic workers may not be covered.
  • Temp agency workers. Usually, temp workers are eligible for worker’s comp through the agency or the company they were “leased to” at the time of the injury.
  • Seasonal workers. Employees who only work during certain times of the year may not be eligible for worker’s comp in all states.
  • Undocumented workers. In California, undocumented workers are ineligible for worker’s comp.

The state of California requires that all employers secure worker’s compensation coverage in some way or another. This means it is possible that non-traditional workers, like the ones listed previously, are eligible for worker’s compensation. However, the process to receive compensation may be a bit more in depth.

Instead of being able to easily prove you are an employee of a company, the case may need to be investigated further. For example, in the case of a temporary worker, the relationship of the employee in regards to the two employers may need to be examined to determine liability. In this type of case, there are many factors that go into a liability decision, including whether the employer has expressed control over the employee, whether the employer had the right to fire the employee, and who had the employee on payroll. Though it may seem that the “borrowing” employer should be the one to pay out the worker’s comp, this is not necessarily the case.

Usually, the state of California considers both to be employers: the temp agency is the “general employer,” and the borrowing employer is the “special employer.” In most cases, the financial aspects of the worker’s comp are assumed by the temp agency, though there are exceptions to the rule.

Contact an Experienced Attorney to Determine if You’re Eligible

If you have been injured at work, even if you are a temporary worker or independent contractor, you may still be eligible for worker’s compensation. In this situation, it is imperative to contact competent California work injury attorneys experienced in compensation claims. Lawyers are well-versed in the complicated worker’s comp laws and will be able to tell you if your claim is eligible. Likewise, if you have been told by your employer that you are not eligible for worker’s comp, you should contact an attorney because that may not be correct.