Can Temporary Employees Get Workers Compensation in NY?


Temporary workers make up a major part of the American workforce and are an essential part of the economy. Temp workers may be part-time or full-time, and they may be working in a temporary position in hopes of being full-time regular employees. The global Covid pandemic of 2020 has made the demand for temporary workers greater as the workforce has changed rapidly to meet consumer and business needs. Staffing agencies in the US offer 16 million individuals a year, three-fourths of whom are employed full-time.

Just as in other jobs, employers of temporary workers are required to provide a safe working environment. OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is part of the US Department of Labor and protects work environments by setting and enforcing safety standards. Your employer is responsible for your well-being while you are on the clock. If you are a temporary employee injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers' compensation. 

Who is Responsible to Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance on Temporary Workers?

Both your direct employer and the temp agency can be held responsible when something happens to you. If you are working for one company and another company, this is also the case, "borrows" you for a specific task or timeframe. You are well within your rights to ask both of your employers directly whether they carry workers' compensation coverage and if the insurance covers temporary employees. Ask if they have a comprehensive general liability policy before you start working in a new place, and have an insurance agent or consultant look the policy over to ensure that you will be protected while at work. 

Temporary staffing agencies are required to carry workers' compensation coverage on all their employees. Still, if they fail to do so, or if their insurance does not cover all your losses, you can sue your direct employer. Both entities are responsible for ensuring that they have adequate coverage to protect their employees.

Workers' compensation benefits in New York are designed to help injured workers recover so that they are able to get back on their feet and back into the workforce. 

Independent contractors may be treated differently under the law, but the Fair Play Act of 2010 made the definition very narrow. An independent contractor must be able to prove all of the following:

  1. The person is free from control and direction in performing the job, both under contract and in fact,
  2. The independent contractor is performing services outside of the usual course of business for the company, and;
  3. The person is engaged in an independently established occupation, business, or trade similar to the service she/he performs.

Tightening up this act helps to protect those people who get injured working on construction sites. Companies may try to get out of paying for injuries, and the insurance company may have a disclaimer in the contract exempting certain employees from coverage. The Fair Play Act helped to make sure that employees would be responsible whether they were dealing with part-time employees or permanent employees equally.

How Long do Temporary Workers Have to File a Workers' Compensation Claim?

The workers' compensation system can be difficult to navigate by yourself, and you might find the workers' compensation policy confusing. That is why our dedicated team will fight to get you the help you need.

The last thing you want to think about when you have been injured is dealing with attorneys, but when it comes to on-the-job injuries, the clock starts ticking as soon as you are injured. You only have 30 days to report your accident or illness, and you have to file your workers' comp claim within two years. If you miss a deadline for your case, you will probably not be eligible for compensation. There is an exception for hearing loss, which may be harder to diagnose, but in those cases, you only have 3 months to report the injury and 90 days to file the claim.

Even though you have 30 days to report on-the-job injuries, it is better to make a report right away for several reasons. First, you should report the injury so that you can document the circumstances and have proof that it happened. Second, it will give your employer an opportunity to fix the problem so that no one else gets injured in the same way. Finally, the sooner you make a report, the sooner your employer is likely to start helping you with your recovery and paying your medical expenses. 

Make sure you document your injury in writing and provide medical documentation as soon as you can to prove that the injury occurred during your employment.

Were you Injured at Work as a Temporary Employee?

It can be frightening to confront your employer, but you have the right to be protected while you are working. It is unlikely that you can afford to deal with the injuries yourself if your employer is not cooperating with your claim, especially if the injury or illness causes you to miss work. Anyone who hires you is entering into a contractual obligation with you, where you are giving them your time and energy, and they are giving you compensation. Injuries are not part of that, and you should not feel responsible if your employer is trying to evade responsibility.

Even if you are not sure what you want to do next, you won't lose anything by talking to one of our experienced employment law attorneys for legal advice. Anything you tell us will be confidential. Because of the attorney-client relationship, you can tell us your situation in confidence.

You have a right to be safe on the job, and we will fight hard for your rights. We understand how difficult it is when you are injured, and how stressful it is when you are just trying to take care of your family. Our caring, knowledgeable lawyers will use their skills to get you the help you need, and we will also make sure you know what is happening throughout the process. If you or a loved one need help with a workplace injury, call Terry Katz & Associates at 888-488-7459, today for a Free Consultation with a New York worker's compensation attorney.

Terry Katz, Esq.
Terry Katz, Esq., the founding Member of the firm, handles all aspects of Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability cases.
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