When a client first meets with a workers compensation lawyer, they may ask if they are considered an employee and therefore qualify for benefits. Workers compensation laws dictate that most people who provide services to a commercial business are considered an employee. As a result, they are eligible for workers compensation insurance. However, there are several criteria that must be considered. For clarification, you may benefit from contacting a workers compensation lawyer to confirm if your circumstances qualify you for benefits.
In general, a person is considered an employee of the company and is qualified for workers compensation benefits if they meet any or all of the following criteria:
- The employer has the right to control the individual’s method or manner of performing their job. For instance, if the person must work during hours set by the employer and must perform the job in a certain way, they might be considered an employee.
- The person’s work is the same as the employer’s. For example, if the person installs aluminum siding for a siding company they will probably be considered an employee. However, if the siding company hires someone to fix the company truck then the mechanic would probably be considered an independent contractor.
- If the person is paid hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly wages they may be considered an employee. This is even more obvious if they check is less money taken out for health insurance, unemployment insurance, FICA, etc. Less important is if the person is paid using a 1099 tax form or a W2 when it comes to determining if they qualify for workers compensation benefits.
- When the company provides the materials and/or equipment necessary for the person to complete the job, this indicates the person is an employee. For example, if a vehicle, cell phone, and/or a computer is supplied to the person, they are probably not considered a contractor.
- If the company has the right to hire or fire the person who is performing the work for them, the person is probably considered an employee with the right to collect workers compensation benefits if injured on the job. By contrast, an independent contractor has the right to determine when the job will be done and cannot be fired by the company simply because of how they choose to do the job. This is different than a company ending their relationship with an independent contractor because the latter’s services did not fulfill the agreed upon expectations of the company.
Though one of the above criteria may indicate the person is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor, it may not be enough. Ultimately, a workers compensation law judge will have to determine if the person qualifies for benefits as an employee. If you have questions about your employment status, contact Nassau County workers compensation attorneys to request a case review with a seasoned workers compensation lawyer who can provide you with the information you need prior to applying for benefits.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen P.C. for their insight into workers compensation.