Working in a non-traditional capacity can be a highly attractive option for people looking to have more flexibility with their schedule and more control over the jobs they take. And indeed, this type of employment has seen a significant increase in recent years as evident by the so-called gig economy.
While working as a freelancer or contractor has advantages, there are some caveats of these designations of which workers should be aware. For instance, non-employees who get injured or sick on the job are likely not covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
In accordance with California workers’ compensation laws, all California employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage to employees. These benefits provide compensation for workers who suffer a work-related illness or injury, allowing them to take needed time off work and receive medical care. In exchange for providing coverage, employers shield themselves from a lawsuit by the injured employee.
If you are not an employee, however, an employer does not have an obligation to provide coverage for you. Independent contractors and other non-employees should have their own insurance.
Problems can arise when employers misclassify a worker. Often, misclassification occurs when an employer hires someone as an independent contractor, despite fitting the criteria for an employee.
For instance, the line between employee and independent contractor is not always clear. And, things can change over time, meaning that someone hired as a contractor could become an employee.
This distinction is crucial in the event of a work-related accident. Inaccurate classification as a contractor can allow employers or insurance companies to wrongfully deny benefits to an injured worker. As such, it is critical for workers to confirm their employment status prior to starting a job. It can also be wise to review the classification after changes in job expectations or performances.
Collecting workers’ compensation after a work injury can make a significant difference in a worker’s life. Unfortunately, too many people face obstacles to collecting benefits. This includes disputes over employment classification.
Resolving these matters can be difficult. However, with legal support and an understanding of your rights, it can be easier to pursue the benefits you may deserve.