Too many workers suffer injuries on the job and mistakenly believe they are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because they only work for the company on a part-time basis. However, part-time employment generally does not bar a person from qualifying for workers’ compensation and these injured individuals lose out on important medical and wage replacement benefits as a result.
In Florida, there are a few basic requirements for an employee to be eligible to receive benefits under the workers’ compensation program:
The employer must be required by law to carry workers’ compensation coverage. In Florida, the following companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance:
- A non-construction company with four or more employees who are full or part-time;
- A construction company with one or more employees who are full or part-time;
- Agricultural companies with at least six regular workers in addition to/or at least 12 seasonal workers.
A company may also choose to carry this type of insurance coverage for its employees even if it is not required under a specific law.
The injured individual must be an “employee.” The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets out many regulations regarding wage and hour law, including a description of when a person should classified as an “employee” and when they should be classified as an “independent contractor.” When a company wrongfully classifies a person as an independent contractor, that employee can unknowingly lose benefits that they rightly deserved. This is especially common in the construction and commercial truck driving industries.
The illness or injury was related to their job duties. This last requirement is important because an employer may often try to claim that a worker actually sustained an injury outside of work to avoid paying benefits.
None of the above three requirements indicate that a part-time worker would not be eligible for benefits so long as they were correctly classified as an employee. For this reason, a part-time employee should never hesitate to inform their employer of the workplace injury, receive proper medical treatment, and receive benefits for missed work. Part-time employees do not have any fewer rights to these important benefits simply because they do not put in a 40-hour work week with that employer.
In addition, if a part-time worker is told they are an independent contractor and they actually believe they are an employee, they could be missing out on important benefits should they get sick or injured. Anyone concerned about their employment classification or simply curious about qualifying for workers’ compensation should always discuss their rights and options with a qualified attorney today.
Part-time employees who are injured often face additional hardship if they have multiple jobs and cannot attend any of them. In such situations, they can often qualify for wage replacement for both jobs missed, as long as certain requirements are met. A qualified lawyer will strive to help the injured part-time employee receive the maximum amount of benefits they deserve due to their injuries.