If you hire seasonal workers, you may be wondering whether they’re covered by worker’s comp. Read on to learn about worker’s compensation eligibility.

For the 2016 holiday season, retailers in the US hired over 570,000 extra people.

The demand for seasonal workers is increasing. With the holidays approaching and more people taking on seasonal work, understanding the legal side of seasonal employment is worthwhile.

If you’re hired for seasonal work, you should understand your rights as an employee. You’ll want to know about your workers’ compensation eligibility.

Keep reading to find out what you’re entitled to as a seasonal worker.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

If you sustain an injury or illness as a result of work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensations. To be eligible, you must be an employee and your employer must have workers compensation. You must also fill out the proper paperwork.

If you’re eligible, workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. You’ll receive compensation regardless of whether you caused the injury.

Compensation covers expenses such as medical bills and damages. It may also cover wages lost as a result of your injury or illness. If you receive workers’ compensation, you can’t file a lawsuit against your employer.

Workers’ Compensation Eligibility Requirements

Below we’ve listed the minimum requirements necessary for workers’ compensation.

Employee Considerations

Not all people who work for a company are employees. Meaning, they’re not eligible for workers’ compensation. This includes independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers.

Sometimes, employees hired on as independent contractors are considered employees by law. The laws around this vary by state. In a court case, the amount of control you have over your work will help determine your eligibility.

Employer Considerations

Most employers are legally required to have workers’ compensation for their employees. This is dependent on how many employees an employer has. It also depends on the type of work as well as what service the employer provides.

Some employers will purchase workers’ compensation. The state allows these employers to opt into the workers’ compensation systems. This protects the employer from lawsuits from injured or ill employees.

Other employers will self-insure their employees. They will absorb the financial responsibility for their employee’s injuries and illnesses.

For federal employees, the Federal Employment Compensation Act provides some workers’ compensation benefits.

Injury and/or Illness Considerations

Determining whether an injury or illness is work-related is not always cut and dry. Typically, when you’re performing a task that benefits your employer and you’re injured or become ill in the process, it’s considered work-related.

When you’re injured in a fall at work, the injuries are clearly work-related. Developing an injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome may not be clear. An illness that results from consistent exposure to toxic chemicals may also not be so easy to determine.

If your situation involves horseplay with co-workers, you may not be eligible. And if you’re injured on a lunch break or at a company-sponsored event, you may not be eligible either.

Deadline Considerations

To be eligible for workers’ compensations, you must ensure you meet the deadlines. Deadline for reporting and filing your injury vary by state. Be sure to get these items together as soon as possible.

Other Workers’ Compensation Eligibility Considerations

The following types of employees may not be eligible for workers’ compensation.

  • Agricultural workers
  • Farmworkers
  • Domestic Workers
  • Leased or loaned employees
  • Undocumented workers

The degree to which you are eligible for compensation depends on the industry. It also depends on the type of work you’re performing. Seasonal workers, for example, have special considerations.

Seasonal Workers and Workers’ Compensation Eligibility

In some states, seasonal workers are exempt from workers’ compensation insurance. But in others, seasonal workers have rights to workers’ compensation. As long as the work is part of the employer’s regular business or profession, seasonal workers usually qualify.

In other states, the number of employees determines seasonal worker insurance. Employers must have insurance if they have a minimum number of employees. The requirement in most states is 1 employee, but in states like Missouri, the minimum is 5.

Seasonal Workers, Temp Agencies, and Workers’ Compensation Eligibility

Seasonal workers who find work through temp agencies have other things to consider. When you find seasonal work through a temp agency, you’re usually still entitled to compensation. Which company you’re covered under is not always clear.

You must figure out whether the temp agency or the company is accountable for your claim. In many cases, the temp agency will be held liable for your work-related injury and/or illness.

An insurer may try to deny claims for seasonal workers hired through temp agencies. It’s extremely important to check the contract you sign with the temp agency. In this contract, your rights regarding medical and wage loss should be outlined clearly.

What To Do If You’re Not Covered

Unlike personal insurance, you can’t purchase your own workers’ compensations. But if you find that you’re not covered by workers’ compensation, you may be able to file a lawsuit to cover your medical expenses, damages, and lost wages. Without workers’ compensation eligibility, you have the right to file a civil claim against the employer or even a third party.

More Insurance Information

To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must be considered an employee and your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance. Your illness or injury must be work-related and you have to meet the state deadline for reporting your problem and filing a claim. But there are other considerations that affect your eligibility.

For example, workers’ compensation eligibility isn’t clear for workers falling outside the norm. Agricultural workers, independent contractors, and temporary workers have different rules related to their work. While seasonal workers are usually covered by workers’ compensation, this can change from state to state.

If you’re an employer, having workers’ compensation can help avoid lawsuits. For more information on how a workers’ compensation program benefits your business, contact us today.