Although homeowners benefit from the service of domestic workers, this homeowner-to-client relationship can result in complications when and if an accident occurs. It is not often clear if the homeowner is an employer or if the domestic worker is considered a contractor with no recourse for support through workers’ compensation benefits.
Most common types of domestic workers include:
- Pool cleaners
- Maintenance workers
It is important to understand that California homeowners do not have to run a business to have employees. It is possible to have “residence employees” who provide household services.
However, when a homeowner chooses to hire residence employees, they must have insurance. If the domestic workers only work on the property occasionally, they should be automatically covered under the homeowner’s insurance policy. And if the domestic workers are considered full-time—according to the definition of the insurance provider—the homeowner is required to possess workers’ compensation coverage at an additional cost.
Full-time, domestic workers in California are defined as the following:
- An inside employee—such as a housekeeper or nanny—is considered full time if they work more than 20 hours each week.
- An outside worker—such as a gardener or a pool cleaner—is considered full time if they work more than 10 hours each week.
- An employee working less than the 10- or 20-hour limit is considered an occasional worker, which means they are not covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
If you have been injured at the workplace as a domestic employee, you may be able to pursue benefits if you meet those requirements. It is also in your best interest to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for more information about pursuing your legal rights.