The Breakdown on Workers’ Compensation for Volunteers, Contractors, and Temporary Employees

When it comes to any job site, there are a number of risks and exposures that companies have to look out for. From sticking to a schedule to making sure what they’re building is up to code and protecting all employees on site, the risks are wide. But one major concern when it comes to worker safety is protecting the company and the employees with the right coverage, including workers’ compensation.

Medical expenses have to be handled, injuries have to heal, and someone has to take the brunt of responsibility following an injury of any kind. But when it comes to worksites where contractors, volunteers, and temporary employees are present, how is workers’ compensation worked out?

Defining the Employee

Not all states in the nation require that businesses buy workers’ compensation coverage, and even those that do make it a requirement can be a little hazy about their definitions of what constitutes an employee.

For independent contractors, such as freelance workers, they find themselves not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, it’s completely common for companies to classify workers as independent contractors when they can actually be considered actual full-on employees.

For volunteers, they are traditionally not considered employees, although some industries will choose to buy coverage. In addition to these volunteers, there are a number of other worker types who are exempt from workers’ compensation.

  • Domestic Workers: Housekeepers, babysitters, and other domestic workers are not covered
  • Agricultural Workers: In most states, these types of workers and farmers are not eligible
  • Temp Agency Employees: Temp workers are usually eligible for workers’ compensation through the agency or company there were loaned out to

Some states require that all employers secure workers’ compensation coverage in addition to liability coverage, such as artisan contractor for contracting sites. This means that it is possible that non-traditional workers, such as those previously mentioned, are eligible for workers’ comp.

For temporary workers, the relationship of the employee in regards to employers may need to be looked at more thoroughly to determine liability. In this case, there are a number of elements that go into a liability decision, including whether the employer has demonstrated control over the employee in some way, or if the employer had a worker on payroll.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.