Are temporary, seasonal, and migrant farm workers eligible for workers’ compensation in Georgia if they are hurt on the job?
Temporary and seasonal workers are treated differently than migrant farm workers according to Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. If you are a temporary, seasonal, or migrant farm worker, it is important to know what the law is, what you may be able to recover if you are hurt at work, and how to fight for your fair recovery.
Temporary and Seasonal Workers May be Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for employees. The law does not distinguish between full time employees and part time employees, nor does it distinguish between those who are expected to work for the employer indefinitely and those who are hired on a seasonal or temporary basis.
Instead, all employees of businesses that are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt on the job. A business is generally required to carry workers’ compensation if the business employs three or more people. These employees may be full time employees or part time employees.
Coverage for all employees—including temporary or seasonal workers—begins on their first day on the job. There is no waiting period, and lack of work experience is not a justification for denying workers’ compensation benefits.
Temporary workers should, however, know who employs them and, thus, who is required to provide them with workers’ comp benefits if they are hurt. If a worker is hired through a temporary agency, placed in a position by that agency, and paid by the agency, then the temporary agency may be the worker’s employer and the temporary agency may be responsible for providing the worker with workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the temporary worker is hired directly by a business or employer for a position that is temporary in nature, it is that business or employer who must provide workers’ compensation to the injured employee, assuming that the employer is required by law to do so and that the employee is eligible for such benefits.
Migrant Workers May Not Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation
While workers’ compensation covers most types of employees, the law specifically excludes employees in some industries. Georgia is one of about 16 states that currently does not require farm employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for many of their farm workers. However, Georgia law does allow employers to purchase elective coverage for farm workers. If an employer has purchased this insurance voluntarily, then a migrant worker may be allowed to recover workers’ comp benefits if he is hurt on the job. Otherwise, a temporary or migrant farm worker may not be covered by this form of insurance.
When to Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
While temporary and seasonal workers may have the same rights to workers’ compensation benefits as long-term employees, the road to recovery may be more difficult for them than it is for other employees. Certain facts concerning whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor and whether a worker is employed by an agency or a business directly may be raised and may be used to try to deny a worker benefits unless the worker knows his or her rights and is willing to fight for a fair and just recovery.
Accordingly, if you were hired to work at a summer camp, a retail establishment during the holidays, to cover the medical leave of another employee, or on another temporary or seasonal basis, you need to know your rights and you may need help advocating for the benefits that you deserve. Please read our FREE book, Understanding Georgia Workers’ Compensation.
Have You Been Injured At Work?
If you’ve been injured on the job you need to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Augusta office directly at 706.863.6600 to schedule your free consultation.