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Who Is Excluded from Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California?

Workers’ compensation is a valuable resource that many employees throughout the United States are entitled to enjoy. While coverage is widespread, it is anything but uniform. Each state treats workers’ compensation differently, often with regard for who can apply for assistance and who is ineligible.

While most employees are eligible for workers’ compensation in California, even here there are some limits as to who can qualify for benefits. Read on to learn more about certain exclusions that would disqualify someone from receiving workers’ compensation coverage.

Roles & Professions Excluded from Workers’ Compensation

In California, individuals such as the following are not permitted to receive workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Sole proprietors and business owners (except roofers)
  • Independent contractors
  • Domestic workers who are related o their employer (a caretaker who is the son or daughter or the person in their care)
  • People who are employed for aid (housing, food, etc.) instead of pay
  • Volunteers, including those for non-profit organizations
  • Deputy sheriffs and deputy clerks
  • Students performing in amateur sporting events; amateur sports officials

These are just a few of the broadest exclusions. There are other individual exclusions included in the California Labor Code, Division 4, Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 3352.

Who Is Considered an Independent Contractor?

Independent contractors account for a large swath of the work force in California. Despite this, they are not entitled to benefits (like workers’ compensation) and fully employed individuals are. This is because an independent contractor is considered to be in business for his or herself and working on a contractual basis, rather than properly employed by an employer.

Independent contractor misclassification is a problem because people may be inappropriately considered independent contractors when they should be considered employees. This can occur when an employer makes a mistake or is attempting to avoid responsibilities such as purchasing workers’ compensation insurance, affording minimum wage, paying payroll taxes, and providing other employee benefits.

California has a so-called “ABC Test” to determine whether or not someone is an independent contractor. According to the test, a worker can be considered as such if all of the following apply:

  • The worker is free from the employer’s control and direction
  • The worker performs work outside of the hiring entity’s usual course of business
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business in the work he or she performs (the worker is in business for themselves)

If someone is considered an independent contractor by their employer but one or more of the criteria above doesn’t apply to them, they should seek counsel from an employment law attorney. A legal professional can help someone assess whether or not they were misclassified and pursue legal action if so.

Do You Need Help with a Claim?

If you need help filing a workers’ compensation insurance claim, reach out to Smolich and Smolich for assistance. We can help you throughout this delicate process to make sure each step of the claims process is performed correctly and your best possible chances for success are secured.

Should you encounter difficulty with your claim or believe you are improperly excluded from workers’ compensation benefits, we can assess your situation and may be able to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

For more information, reach out to Smolich and Smolich online or call us at (916) 571-0400">(916) 571-0400 today!