Summer is in full swing, and that means there are plenty of construction jobs, landscaping work, fairground gigs and other seasonal employment opportunities available.
But what happens if you get hurt while working a seasonal job?
Know the facts about your right to workers’ compensation benefits
A lot of businesses turn to seasonal employees to cover labor shortages over the summer — and they usually make it clear from the start to those employees that they’re not offering long-term employment and benefits.
They may not, however, let you know that you’re still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you get hurt on the job — even if you’re a seasonal employee. In reality, if your employer is required to provide workers’ comp coverage to any employees, they’re also required to cover part-time and seasonal workers, as well.
Make sure you understand the rules about employee classification
There is a “loophole,” of sorts, that some employers use to get around their obligation to provide workers’ comp benefits to seasonal employees. They may try to classify you as an independent contractor on their rolls.
Unless you are offering a special skill and/or retain full control over how you manage your work (rather than following the directions given by your employer about what you should be doing, when you should be doing it and the manner in which you must do it), you probably are misclassified — and that can leave you struggling to obtain benefits after an injury.
What can you do if your boss says you don’t qualify for workers’ comp benefits?
You don’t have to take your employer’s word for it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. If you’ve been denied workers’ compensation benefits unfairly, it may be time to explore all of your legal options.