Do you qualify for workers’ comp if you work part-time?
When workplace injury leaves you without a way to provide for yourself or your family, our attorneys can help.
Can you receive workers’ compensation benefits as a part-time worker in Georgia? Generally speaking, yes.
A worker is injured on the job every 7 seconds in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council. That’s 540 injured workers per hour, or 12,900 every day. On average, each work-related injury results in 21 missed days of work. That adds up to a large chunk out of your paycheck — not to mention the medical bills that may be piling up after a work-related injury.
For part-time and seasonal employees hurt at work, a serious workplace accident can be particularly devastating as it leaves you without a way to pay the bills and provide for your family.
Fortunately, there’s some good news.In the state of Georgia, the law requires that any employer with 3 or more employees — whether they’re full-time or part-time — offer workers’ compensation for employees who are injured while on the job. The law also covers part-time employees who only work weekends, and some seasonal employees may also be eligible.
Georgia workers’ compensation law doesn’t cover employees labeled as “independent contractors,” but it does cover undocumented workers in the country illegally if they have a genuine on-the-job injury. The injured person’s immigration status isn’t relevant to a workers’ compensation claim.
If you’ve been injured or a loved one was killed while working a part-time job in Georgia, you may be wondering about your legal options and rights. Contact our Atlanta law firm today to talk about your case and find out if you have a valid claim.
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
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Do you qualify for workers’ compensation?
If you’re hurt while on the job as a regular part-time worker, you are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. But to be eligible, you must have been injured while performing your job duties for an employer with 3 or more employees. The amount of time you’ve worked for that employer, or your number of hours worked per week, are irrelevant to your eligibility.
Furthermore, part-time employees are covered even if the injury occurred due to their own recklessness or the carelessness of another employee.
Important note: Georgia workers’ compensation law exempts farm employers from being required to cover seasonal farm workers. The only way seasonal farm workers are covered in Georgia is if their employer voluntarily enrolled in a workers’ compensation insurance program.
Part-time workers vs. independent contractors
While Georgia law doesn’t allow for workers’ compensation for independent contractors, those with that job label do have other job advantages compared to regular part-time workers.
For example, independent contractors are allowed to complete their job assignments where, when and how they want to; they are ultimately responsible for completing the task.
Independent contractors are also able to negotiate a financial contract with an employer and are sometimes paid on a per-job basis. Ultimately, independent contractors have greater flexibility in earning ability and overall job execution.
Work injury benefits available for part-time workers
The same benefits available to full-time workers who are injured on the job are available to part-time workers. These benefits are available from the very first day the worker begins employment, and includes income benefits due to lost wages as well as coverage for medical and rehabilitation expenses. If the injury results in the death of the employee, these and other benefits will be made available to his or her dependents.
It’s important to note that in Georgia, any injury sustained while not executing job duties (such as injuries occurring during a lunch break) isn’t covered by workers’ compensation. Coverage also doesn’t apply if the employee was injured while violating a company policy. Also, certain categories of employment aren’t necessarily covered by workers’ compensation in Georgia due to the employers not being required to carry coverage. These jobs include farm laborers, domestic servants, sports officials and some railroad workers.
Work injury benefits available for seasonal workers
Employees who are seasonal are generally eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. However, they must meet certain eligibility standards:
- If you’re performing a job at a worksite through a temporary employment service, the pacing agency must provide the injured worker with benefits. The business outsourcing to the temp agency isn’t considered the “employer” of the injured worker.
- Seasonal farm workers have no expectation of coverage unless their farm employer has voluntarily decided to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. This is because Georgia law doesn’t require farm employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage.
Workers’ comp benefits for undocumented workers
Currently, Georgia law doesn’t specifically block undocumented workers from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, so long as they have a genuine on-the-job injury. Interpreting the way the law is written, an injured workers’ immigration status isn’t relevant to filing a workers’ compensation claim — even if the employer didn’t know you were in the country illegally.
How to apply for workers’ compensation benefits as a part-time worker
Firstly, if you are injured while working part-time on the job, seek medical care. Your health is important, so get treatment even if you’re worried about being able to cover the medical costs. Failure to seek treatment could further damage your body and make it tougher to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Next, notify your employer about the injury. If you wait too long, it might signal to the employer (or their insurance company) that the injury wasn’t so severe to warrant benefits. If you wait, it could also lead to missing the statute of limitations, so report your injury right away.
Finally, seek out a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer to review your situation and find out if you have a case.
Challenges of getting compensation as a part-time worker
It can be difficult to secure workers’ compensation benefits for anyone injured on the job. And this confusing process can be even tougher if you’re a part-time or seasonal worker, as there are further details to navigate.
That’s why you need a team of attorneys working on your behalf to fight for you. Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys knows the intricacies of workers’ compensation law and we have decades of experience.
Did you know that workers’ compensation rules vary depending on the state where you were hurt? For more information on workplace injuries and other frequently asked questions about Georgia workers’ compensation and disability benefits, visit our FAQs page.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
We fight for part-time and seasonal workers across Georgia
Don’t let the worry of being a part-time employee keep you from seeking medical help if you’re injured on the job. If you or someone you love has been injured while on the job, contact us today to learn about your rights under Georgia law.