Under California law, all employers who have at least one employee are responsible for providing workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee suffers a work-related injury, this insurance provides important benefits, including compensation for medical care, lost wages and permanent disability as well as job retraining.
Unfortunately, workers often hesitate to file a claim, either because they do not realize that they are eligible for benefits or because they worry doing so will put their job at risk.
1. Are temporary and part-time workers eligible for benefits?
Employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage for all employees, regardless of the number of hours they work or whether they are seasonal or temporary workers. Temporary employees may receive benefits either through their staffing agency or through their employer.
2. Do workers have to be U.S. citizens to receive benefits?
In California, injured workers may be eligible for benefits even if they are not legal U.S. residents. Additionally, regardless of a worker’s citizenship status, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who files an injury claim, including threatening deportation.
3. Does it matter who caused the injury?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. An employee is automatically entitled to benefits, even if he or she was somehow responsible for the injury. Additionally, an injured worker does not have to prove that his or her employer caused the injury to receive benefits.
4. What if an employer refuses to pay benefits?
California law requires employers to cooperate with injured workers. It is also illegal for employers to discriminate against or otherwise punish an employee who files a compensation claim. Employers who do so may have to pay a higher amount in benefits and reimburse the employee for lost wages.