If your organization has peak and non-peak seasons, you might be accustomed to hiring a few extra temporary or contract workers during busier times or sudden projects to meet the demand without raising your labor costs too much. But how would this affect your situation if one of the contract workers got hurt on the job? Would you or the contractor company be required to pay workers’ compensation?
The best way to answer these questions is to make sure neither you nor the contractor is making assumptions about contract responsibilities - if there’s any grey area, discuss it with your contractor before figuring out what each party must do.
2 major questions to be discussed in this scenario where a contract worker gets hurt or falls ill while working for your organization are:
Who is responsible for providing workers’ compensation coverage?
Depending on state laws, either you as the employer or the contractor will be responsible for providing care for contract workers’ illnesses or injuries. Some states may allow you and the contractor to decide between yourselves who will be responsible for handling workers’ ailments - in the end, you must make sure that the contract specifies explicitly whether the contractor or the contracting company will be paying workers’ compensation insurance for ill or injured contract workers.
If an injured or ill contract worker returns to work, who will provide them with light duty tasks to accommodate their work restrictions - the employer or the contractor?
Getting ill or injured contract workers back to work safely involves making sure the work load is lighter and suits the recovering worker’s capabilities and restrictions. The task of assigning and creating these new responsibilities to the injured worker should be addressed in the contract prior to the beginning of the working arrangements.
These questions may sound complicated but they can be easily handled with the contractor, as long as the contract is carefully established to address these questions and prevent issues in providing care and compensation to injured workers. A further prevention protocol is to ensure that your organization provides sufficient training and safety programs to temporary and permanent workers alike, so that everyone is on the same page in terms of your company safety policies and procedures.
You can also reach out to Carriage Trade Insurance to receive advice on handling liability concerns as they relate to contract workers, or receive a workers’ compensation quote to figure out your potential insurance costs.