Seasonal employees are an important part of the holidays. As a seasonal worker, you know you are a vital resource for businesses to continue serving their customers’ needs during a time when traffic and sales are high. You are just as valuable as a regular employee.
Like any other employee, you deserve the right to a safe workplace. If an accident occurs and you are injured, you may be wondering how you will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages during this crucial moneymaking time. Regular employees would file a workers’ compensation claim, but is that option available to you?
The simple answer is …YES
By law, virtually all Wisconsin employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This includes employers who employ:
- Three or more workers on a full-time or part-time basis
- One or more workers on a full-time or part-time basis and who pay combined wages of $500 or more in a calendar quarter for work completed in Wisconsin
- Six or more workers on a farm who work for 20 days during a calendar year
These criteria cover most Wisconsin employers. More importantly, an employee’s seasonal status is not relevant if they are working on a part-time basis and the employer meets the above circumstances. Your employer cannot withhold, deduct or collect premiums from you for this policy, and they cannot compel you to sign an agreement waiving your rights to compensation.
If for some reason an employer is not insured, Wisconsin protects injured workers (whether seasonal or not) and has an Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) that will pay you benefits. The employer — who should have had workers’ compensation insurance — can then can be subject to penalties for non- coverage.
Are these exceptions?
As with any requirement, there are exceptions for which employees do not have to be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. Technically, independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, Wisconsin has a high standard for defining an “independent contractor” – having to meet all nine points of the nine-point conditions for exempting such a worker.
As you continue your seasonal work, know that you have the right to be compensated for any injuries that may occur. You have the right to have your work-related medical bills paid. There is no reason an accident at a seasonal job should lead to you netting less money than before the season began.