At the core of every workers’ compensation claim lies the concept of the “scope of employment.” Whether you’re a part-time or temporary worker, the principal determinant of eligibility for benefits hinges on this pivotal concept.
What Exactly Constitutes ‘Scope of Employment’?
It’s a term that’s easily misunderstood. Essentially, it’s about whether an injury took place during and because of one’s job duties. Two key components make up this criterion:
- Temporal connection: This relates to the time and space of the injury. Was the worker on the job and at the workplace when the injury happened?
- Furtherance of employer’s business: This implies that the worker was performing tasks or activities that benefit the employer in some way.
But it’s important to note that the exact nature of the task isn’t always strictly tied to the company’s business goals. For example, an employee getting injured while having coffee during a break still falls within this scope, thanks to concepts like the personal comfort doctrine.
Exceptions and Misunderstandings in Employment Type
While many assume that only full-time employees enjoy the privilege of workers’ compensation, it’s critical to understand that the system is far more encompassing.
Who Is Covered?
Whether you’re a seasonal worker, a part-timer, or even someone hired for a short duration like a summer nanny, the criteria remains consistent: are you an employee, and did the injury occur within the scope of your employment?
However, exceptions do exist:
- Household workers: This category, which includes roles like nannies, needs to meet certain monetary thresholds to qualify. It’s crucial for employers to recognize that, contrary to popular belief, such workers aren’t independent contractors in the eyes of the workers’ compensation statute.
- Occasional tasks: Think of the neighborhood kid you hire to mow your lawn. In such cases, unless the homeowner’s negligence played a role, injuries sustained won’t typically lead to a successful claim.
Employee Status Matters More Than Hours Worked
For anyone navigating the maze of workers’ compensation, understanding the parameters is essential. It’s not about the hours clocked in but rather the nature of the employment and the circumstances of the injury.
Remember, whether you’re working full-time, part-time, or even on a temporary basis, injuries that occur within the employment’s scope often lead to valid compensation claims. Knowing your rights and the nuances of the system can make all the difference when seeking what’s rightfully yours. Contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today to learn more about filing a part-time or temporary workers’ compensation claim.