You’ve been hired for a short period of time. Maybe you’re working at a special event or employed for just a season. You expect to complete your period of employment and move on to what’s next in your life.
Then, you’re hurt on the job.
What happens next? Can you receive workers’ compensation? Is workers’ compensation different for temporary workers?
Our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers at Moebes Law explain.
Workers’ Compensation for Temporary Workers in Georgia
Can a temporary worker get workers’ compensation in Georgia?
Yes. A temporary worker can get workers’ compensation in Georgia. Workers’ compensation begins on your very first day at work. If you’re otherwise covered under workers’ compensation laws, a temporary worker who is injured on the job can claim benefits in Georgia.
Types of temporary workers that may qualify for workers’ compensation in Georgia
Some examples of temporary workers who may qualify to receive workers’ compensation in Georgia are:
- Concert staff
- Event workers
- Summer seasonal workers in restaurants and hotels
- Camp counselors
- Resort workers
- Summer airport seasonal hires
- Winter retail help for the holidays
- Carnival workers
- Construction workers
- Summer water sports and marina staff
- Delivery drivers for rush periods when employees rather than contractors
- Festival employees
- Construction and project hires
The primary question for whether a person can get workers’ compensation in Georgia is not how long they have been working on the job. Instead it is the characterization and status of the person working as an employee.
Even if a period of employment has a set end date, it doesn’t change that the worker was hurt on the job. The employee may qualify to receive benefits like any other employee if they meet other qualifications.
Does the Georgia definition of employee for workers’ compensation include temporary workers?
Georgia workers’ compensation law defines an employee as a person working in the service of another unless they are specifically excluded from coverage. The definition includes temporary workers. (See Georgia Code § 34-9-1).
Are temporary workers ever excluded from workers’ compensation coverage?
A temporary worker may be excluded from workers’ compensation coverage in any of the following circumstances:
- They are an independent contractor rather than an employee
- Agricultural service workers or farm laborers
- Domestic workers
- Government employees who have a separate system for workplace injury
- Common carriers by railroad engaged in interstate trade or commerce
- The employer has less than three regular employees and isn’t required to have workers’ compensation insurance
For a temporary worker to be excluded from workers’ compensation coverage, there must be an exclusion for other reasons other than the fact that they were a short-term hire. Generally, temporary employees are treated like all other workers regarding compensation in the event of a workplace injury.
Temporary Employees and Workers’ Compensation
Is a temporary worker an independent contractor?
Remember that insurance companies have various ways to try and deny compensation. They may say that the temporary worker is not covered because they are an independent contractor. Maybe the employer even gave you paperwork saying you were a contractor when you were hired.
Your employer’s designation of your employment can be incorrect. They may misclassify you to avoid their obligations. It may be possible to challenge their assertion. The question is the amount of control the employer has over the time, manner, and methods of the person’s work. There are several criteria to evaluate when determining whether there is an employee or independent contractor relationship. None of the considerations are directly related to whether the person is a temporary worker.
How do you calculate the average weekly wage for a temporary worker?
The amount of workers’ compensation wage benefits to be paid depends on the injured party’s average weekly wage. This may pose a challenge when it comes to a temporary worker. Ordinarily, a 13-week lookback period is used to calculate the wage. A temporary worker may not have a 13-week history on the job.
The required practice is to use a similar employee’s earnings record. The case can look at a person with the same job classification in the same geographic area and use their earnings history. If no person meets that qualification, the amount can be calculated using the person’s own hourly wage and earnings history to the extent that it is available.
How does a temporary employee get workers’ compensation if they are hurt on the job?
If a temporary employee is hurt on the job, they should follow the usual reporting methods to get compensation. In an emergency, they should seek immediate medical attention. They should report their injury in writing to their supervisor as soon as possible.
What if the person works for a temp agency?
If a person works for a temp agency, they are usually considered an employee of the temp agency. In that case, they would report the injury in writing to their supervisor at the temp agency. It may seem counterintuitive since the worker may not see their supervisor in person on a regular basis. However, it is the person’s actual employer, and not necessarily their work location, that should receive the report of the workplace injury.
What if your employer tells you that you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation because you’re temporary?
If your employer tries to tell you that you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation because you are a temporary worker, we invite you to contact our lawyers to discuss the case. Temporary workers often have the right to workers’ compensation. If your employer doesn’t understand the rules or tries to mislead you, you can challenge their decision.
Lawyers for Temporary Workers Hurt on the Job
Our lawyers help people with workers’ compensation claims. As a temporary worker, you have important rights. Our legal team wants you to have the compensation that you deserve. That includes access to benefits when you are hurt while working in a temporary position.
We invite you to contact us today for a consultation about your case.