Focus on Injured Temporary Workers: Who’s Actually Responsible?
The work at XYZ Manufacturing is seasonal. Rather than hire long term employees, most of the workforce is comprised of temporary workers. So, what happens when one of them becomes injured? Who’s responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits?
The issue is not a novel one. Many of today’s employees find that companies will only hire them on a temporary basis. Some come in through outside agencies. Others work directly for the employer, during an acknowledged trial period. The written or implied contract of hire will be extremely relevant in determining culpability for medical bills and wage loss.
Temporary Workers and Workers’ Compensation Benefits
According to the State of New Jersey, injured workers are entitled to certain benefits for work-related accidents. The duration of their employment is of no consequence. People can be hired as dayworkers. If they are hurt within the first hour of work, they can expect to receive authorized medical care. In addition, depending of the length of time the authorized physician instructs them to be out of work, they may be entitled to receive temporary disability benefits. They may also receive an additional award if their injury involves permanency.
A person who has been hired to work as a temporary worker will need to know the following if they are injured at work:
- Were they referred to work at a company by a temporary employment agency?
- Does the temporary agency have an agreement with the company to provide workers’ compensation benefits to all of their referrals?
- Does the company where you are working actually bear responsibility for taking care of your workers’ compensation benefits? (Either by agreement with the staffing agency or because they hired you directly?)
- Have you signed paperwork with the staffing agency that references work-related injuries?
- Have you reported your accident to the temporary agency and the company where you are working?
If the company where you are working claims that you are an independent contractor, you should take a look at one of our previous articles. Although you may have signed a 1099 form, you may still be considered an employee. It is always best to review your situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
You should also know that the federal government has rules and regulations regarding the safety of temporary workers. Both the staffing agency and host company are obligated to ensure that you are provided with safety equipment and that your work environment is considered safe.