Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation after a work-related injury, but independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. If you work as a part-time or seasonal worker, then it is important to understand whether or not you are an employee and whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury.
Part Time or Seasonal Workers May be Employees
The fact that you are a part-time employee or a seasonal employee does not mean that you are an independent contractor or a freelancer. The length of time that you are employed and the number of hours that you work are not factors in deciding whether or not you are an employee. Instead, the factors that are relevant in determining your employment status include:
- Any written or oral agreements you have regarding your employment status
- Whether you are paid a salary or by the job
- Whether you supply your own work tools
- Whether you set your own hours
- Whether you pay your own business expenses
- Whether you are your own boss
- Whether you pay your own taxes or taxes are withheld from your pay
For example, you may be an employee rather than an independent contractor if you work part-time or seasonally as a:
- Construction worker
- Sales person during the holiday season
- Camp employee
- Restaurant, hotel, or entertainment worker on Cape Cod, Cape Ann, or anywhere in Massachusetts during the summer
If you are an employee, then you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim for a job-related injury.
Calculating Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Part-Time and Seasonal Employees
Massachusetts law allows part-time and seasonal workers to receive workers’ compensation if they are employees who were hurt on the job. Like other workers, part-time and seasonal workers may be able to receive a percentage of their average weekly wage if they are unable to work due to their on the job injury.
Typically, when a worker’s average weekly wage is calculated the number is derived from the worker’s gross earnings divided by 52 weeks. However, workers who are employed for less than one year may divide their earnings by the actual number of weeks worked. This may be important if you are a seasonal worker who does not work throughout the year. Additionally, part-time and seasonal workers—like all workers—may not receive less than the state minimum rate for workers’ compensation benefits nor more than the state maximum rate for workers’ compensation benefits. As of October 1, 2018, the minimum rate was $276.68 and the maximum rate was $1,383.41.
Part-Time or Seasonal Employees: Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The workers’ compensation insurer may try to deny your claim by asserting that you are an independent contractor and, therefore, not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Even if the workers’ compensation insurer does admit that you are an employee who is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the insurer may make an error in calculating your average weekly wage benefits.
It is important to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation from the time that you initially apply for benefits so that you don’t waste time and resources later. You can do this by seeking immediate medical attention, by promptly notifying your employer of your injury, and by contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer who is willing to fight for your right to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Part-time and seasonal employees deserve all of the protections that Massachusetts workers’ compensation law provides. Our attorneys will work hard to get you those benefits during the initial workers’ compensation application process and, if necessary, we will fight for your fair benefits by pursuing a workers’ compensation appeal on your behalf.
To learn more about your rights and to protect the workers’ compensation benefits that you have earned, please call us or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney.