Domestic Workers and Workers’ Compensation in California

BY: Koszdin | Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

Anyone who employs at least one worker in California must have workers’ compensation insurance. That means that if you work as a nanny, maid, or in any other type of domestic setting, your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance, even if you are their only employee. However, there are some restrictions and nuances to this general rule that you should discuss with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney.

Who Is Covered?

The general rule is that everyone is covered. However, California law provides for some restrictions if a domestic worker does not work often or could be classified as an independent contractor.

Technically, only “full-time” domestic workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Thankfully for domestic workers, California’s definition of full-time is much less than the typical 40-hour workweek.

  • For those who do work inside the house, full-time employment applies when they work 20 hours per week or more.
  • Employees that work outside the home, such as gardeners have full-time employment if they work just 10 hours per week or more.

You must have also worked at least 52 hours in the 90 days before the work injury occurred to qualify for benefits. Your wages must also be at least $100 during that period as well.

Common examples of domestic workers include:

  • Housekeepers
  • Gardeners
  • Nannies or regular babysitters
  • Pool cleaners
  • General maintenance workers

Occasional workers, those who do not qualify as “full time,” are not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

How Are Domestic Employees Covered?

Many homeowners have workers’ compensation coverage and may not even realize it. Workers’ compensation coverage is often part of the homeowner or rental insurance package that your employer has for their home or apartment. If your employer insists that they don’t have coverage, you may want to suggest that they look at their homeowner’s insurance policy.

What Happens if I’m Not Covered or My Employer Doesn’t Have Insurance?

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and they should, you still have legal options outside of the workers’ compensation system. These include an argument that your employer should have had insurance coverage but did not. It will take more time to get benefits, and you must pay your own healthcare coverage upfront, however.

If you do not work enough hours to be considered a full-time employee for workers’ compensation purposes, you may still be able to sue based on a claim for premises liability. This type of legal claim is similar to what you would use if you slipped and fell at a grocery store or other public location. Again, you will not get benefits as quickly, and you will have to pay for your own medical care costs right away. Your attorney will be able to walk you through these options.

At Koszdin, Fields & Sherry, we know that going through a work accident can be scary and confusing. We are here to help. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles workers’ comp attorneys today: 818-812-5639.

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