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Are Temporary Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?


A day laborer or migrant farm worker typically performs the same work as other workers but is not considered a permanent employee. What happens if you are working in one of these roles in Georgia and are injured on the job? Is a temporary worker entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? The answer to that question depends on a variety of factors.

One of the biggest factors in determining whether a worker is covered for injuries sustained in a Georgia workplace accident is exactly what the worker’s status is with the employer. By way of illustration, assume that company XYZ is an agricultural enterprise that grows and sell peaches. Your employment status with company XYZ could be any of the following:

  • Permanent full-time employee
  • Permanent part-time employee
  • Probationary employee
  • Temporary worker
  • Migrant worker

In Georgia, a company that employs more than three employees is generally required to carry workers’ compensation coverage on all employees. There are, however, exceptions to that general rule. Whether you are full-time, part-time, or still fulfilling a probationary period with the employer does not matter. If you are an employee of the company you are required to be covered by workers’ compensation.

It gets a little bit more complicated, however, if you are a temporary or migrant worker. Some states, including Georgia, specifically exclude migrant workers from workers’ compensation coverage.

Unfortunately, this means that if you are classified as a migrant worker you are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage in Georgia. Before you assume you are not covered, however, be sure to consult with an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney because your job title and duties might not result in your classification as a migrant worker, thereby making you eligible for benefits.

Temporary workers create the most confusion when it comes to workers’ compensation coverage. A temporary worker is one who is placed by a temporary staffing or labor agency into a position at a company. You may work side by side with permanent employees of the company and have the exact same job duties.

However, you are not an employee of the company. Instead, you are paid by the agency. Both the construction and manufacturing industries routinely use temporary workers to fill-in during peak production periods or to fulfill a particularly large contract. The good news is that someone is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage on you if you are a temporary worker. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, “staffing agencies and host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for temporary workers.”

Whether the employer or the agency carries workers’ compensation coverage on a temporary worker is typically something that is negotiated between the parties. As a general rule, the staffing agency will be responsible for carrying workers’ compensation coverage. However, this is not something that is written in stone. If you are employed as a temporary worker it is in your best interest to ask about workers’ compensation coverage before you accept an assignment.

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