Workers who do not work full-time are often reluctant to file a workers’ compensation claim when they are injured at work. Many employers will actually tell them they are not covered due to their part-time job status in an attempt to avoid having a claim filed against them. Just as with any other type of insurance coverage, policyholders are often penalized in the future when premiums rise due to a claim filed in an earlier coverage period. However, part-time workers in most cases are still covered by workers’ compensation insurance, but they are usually not compensated for full-time lost pay. Retaining a workers’ comp lawyer to represent the claim may be the sensible approach for most as there can be other reasons an employer or their workers’ compensation insurance provider may contest a claim.
What is a Part-Time Employee
Simply put, a part-time employee is a worker who has a regular schedule but does not work a full 40-hr week. For the purpose of health care benefits or other perks of employment with a particular company, 30 hours per week is usually the cutoff. However, workers’ compensation applies to all workers regardless of what information an employer tries to communicate. All workers who are scheduled regularly are covered when they are injured while at work if the company is required to carry insurance for workers.
One of the primary difficulties that many injured part-time employees have with winning a workers comp claim is proving that the injury is work-related. It is absolutely necessary to have valid medical documentation and a diagnosis of the injury to support the claim, and this should be sought as soon as possible because delays can give employers and insurance carriers a basis for a claim denial.
Additionally, in many cases, there should be some type of corroborating evidence such as a medical diagnosis time stamp or witness testimony that connects the injury to the workplace. Cases where there is a workplace injury report are typically much easier with respect to establishing the employment connection, but they may still require representation from a workers’ comp lawyer for a successful outcome.
Disqualified Workers’ Compensation Employment
The type of employment structure in place is important when a part-time worker is injured. Even if an injury occurs on the job, people working in some specific types of employment cannot receive workers comp under any circumstances. Those workers include:
- Railroad workers
- Federal workers
- Independent contractors
- Domestic employees
Some employers are exempt from carrying workers’ compensation insurance such as railroad companies and the federal government. Independent contractors can carry a personal insurance policy if they want to pay the premiums, but typically self-employed workers are not required to carry insurance and opt-out. Domestic employers are also exempt from insurance requirements. Additionally, volunteers have not been technically hired by an employer, so they are not covered either. In other industries, where the number of people employed by the company is below a specified threshold, the company may be exempted from the requirement to hold workers’ comp insurance, so be sure to check the status when you commence employment.
Another issue that part-time workers may face is limited benefits. Their wage replacement schedule is set according to how much income they received during a typical week, so the average number of hours is usually the basis for wage replacement. This can be established using pay records over a specific amount of time prior to the injury occurrence. The workers’ comp lawyer representing the case will often begin calculating this amount as soon as possible when building a case for presentation to the state workers’ compensation board or in a state court.
Contact a Workers Comp Lawyer at Our Law Firm
While it is not absolutely necessary to retain legal counsel for a part-time workers comp claim, it is highly advisable to ensure that employers cover the costs of medical treatment as well as provide replacement wages at the appropriate level. Call our office as soon as possible and let us conduct a full investigation into your part-time employment workers’ compensation case.