I Only Work One Day a Week. Can I Still Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Yes! The Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits to any employee who has been injured at work no matter how much money you make or how many days a week you work. If you are injured at a part-time job, and as a result you lose time from your primary job, you are entitled to be compensated for the loss of wages you are suffering from both jobs. This is referred to as wage loss for concurrent employment.
What if I am an Independent Contractor? Am I still entitled to benefits?
Generally, independent contractors are NOT eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Act requires the existence of an employee/employer relationship in order for you to be eligible for benefits. However, just because you received a 1099 from your job does not automatically mean you are an independent contractor. Courts look at the type of employment relationship that exists. If you have no control over the type of work you perform, if your boss doesn’t give you the ability to accept or reject work, if you cannot hire or fire your own employees, and if your pay is based on the time that you work rather than by the job, you will likely be found to be an employee under the Act.
Recently, the Commonwealth Court of PA, ruled that an employee that had orally agreed to work as an independent contractor was an employee under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court held a painter who didn’t sign an independent contractor agreement before he was injured on the job is considered an employee and entitled to workers compensation benefits. The Employer testified before a Workers Compensation Judge that, prior to starting work, the Claimant was told he would make $100 per day and that he would have to sign an independent/subcontractor agreement. However, because no signed agreement existed before the work injury occurred, the Claimant was found to be an employee by law, and was entitled to the receipt of Workers’ Compensation benefits. Staron v. WCAB (Farrier), 2015 WL 4379848, decided July 17, 2015.
It is essential for you to discuss these issues with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney to determine your eligibility to receive benefits.