Do Seasonal Employees Receive Workers’ Compensation in CA?
Many industries require seasonal workers as the workload increases at certain times of the year. Amazon announced its intentions to hire 23,000 temporary workers for the holiday season in California alone, and many other industries benefit from seasonal help at different times.
Employers can have many questions about how employment law requirements apply to seasonal workers. Do they have the same wage rights as other employees? Do they get eligibility for certain benefits?
One common question is whether an employer in California must provide workers’ compensation coverage to seasonal workers in case they suffer injuries. The short answer to this question is yes, and any companies with seasonal help should discuss the matter with an Encino employment law firm.
Workers’ Compensation Requirements
Under California law, all employers must have workers’ compensation insurance - even if your company only has one employee. In addition, there is no minimum time that an employee has to work before they can become eligible for workers’ compensation insurance. These rules together mean that seasonal workers are definitely entitled to such coverage.
Workers’ compensation exists to protect workers who suffer injuries or illness on the job. Seasonal work tends to be more fast-paced, often with less training than full-time, year-round positions. This increases the chance that a seasonal worker will suffer injuries that require workers’ compensation benefits. It is critical that every employer utilizing seasonal help has the proper insurance coverage in case something happens on the job.
Potential Penalties for Inadequate Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Some employers might be tempted to roll the dice and hope that no one gets hurt during seasonal work. However, this can be a costly mistake. If an employee suffers injuries and your company does not have proper workers’ compensation coverage, you can face:
- Misdemeanor criminal charges
- Criminal fines up to $10,000
- Up to one year in county jail
- Civil penalties up to $100,000
These penalties are only for a first offense, and penalties can get significantly more expensive for subsequent offenses.
In addition, an employer will be liable for all of the costs of a worker’s injury or illness. Normally, an injured worker’s only recourse for compensation is to seek workers’ compensation benefits, but this changes if an employer does not have proper insurance. Then, the injured worker can also file an injury action in civil court against the uninsured employer.
The Uninsured Employer's Benefit Trust Fund (UEBTF) is the entity that pays for a worker’s benefits if an employer is uninsured. The UEBTF can then demand reimbursement for all costs covered from the uninsured employer.
Discuss Any Questions with an Encino Employment Lawyer
Not having proper workers’ compensation coverage for seasonal workers - or any employees at all - can be extremely costly if someone gets injured on the job. Learn more about your company’s worker’ comp requirements from the legal team at Kaufman McAndrew LLP. Contact us for more information about compliance with employment laws today. We are ready to protect your business.