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Are Temporary Workers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?

Are Temporary Workers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?

California has extended workers’ compensation protection to temporary workers, with some exceptions.

Are Temporary Workers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?

Across California, temporary employees are common in the agriculture, construction and the retail industry (particularly over the holidays!). But with the rise in temporary workers, the question often becomes what rights these employees have.  If they’re hurt on the job, for example, are they entitled to workers’ compensation?

Under a 2014 law, California employers are responsible for providing workers’ compensation insurance for their employees — including temporary workers. The California Department of Industrial Relations further explained that some temporary workers are entitled to workers’ compensation if they have a job-related injury, such as a fall at a construction site or a repetitive motion injury at a factory.  If the employee is hired through a temp agency, then the employer and the temp agency may share the responsibility of providing coverage, but the agency cannot waive the employer’s responsibility to provide workers’ compensation for its employees.

There are some exceptions to this rule that may leave temporary workers without coverage.  Employers with fewer than 25 employees total (including temporary workers) or who use five or fewer temporary workers at any one time are exempt.   The law also requires that the temporary workers be engaged in the “regular and customary work of a business, performed within or upon the premises or worksite of the client employer.”  This means that temporary workers helping to manufacture products that a company produces throughout the year will likely be covered, but workers doing an odd job — such as painting — probably will not have coverage.

So what does this mean for employees? At its core, this law provides far greater protection for temporary employees, who may otherwise be barred from bringing workers’ compensation claims against their employers.  If you are a temporary employee, you may be able to take advantage of the company’s available resources if you suffer a workplace injury.  A skilled California workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate the facts of your case to determine if you are eligible for coverage under this law.

As with any workplace injury, it is important to act quickly to protect your legal rights.  This includes informing a supervisor as soon as possible about an injury, and filling out all applicable internal paperwork, such an incident reports.  If you fail to report your injury within 30 days, this could bar you from receiving workers’ compensation entirely.  That is why it is so critical for all employees — but especially temporary employees — to be aware of their rights and to file a timely claim.

Workers’ compensation provides a variety of benefits that can help an injured worker move forward with their lives after an accident, illness or injury.  This may include supplemental job displacement benefits, cash payments for a temporary or permanent disability, death benefits and coverage of medical expenses. In most cases, an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim will find out within 90 days whether or not their claim has been approved.

A workplace injury can result in serious consequences for any employee, whether they are a full-time, permanent employee or a temporary worker brought in to help during a busy season.  By allowing temporary workers to see coverage for their on-the-job injuries, California has recognized this reality and provided a way for employees to be protected regardless of their temporary job status.  If you have been hurt at work as a temporary employee, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  Contact PLBSH today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com to learn more about how we can help you.  As experienced workers’ compensation attorneys, we have extensive knowledge of the California workers’ compensation system, including the rights of temporary employees under this new law and other laws.

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Compensation Specialist
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