Does your job have your best interests at heart, or does your employer care more about earning money from your labor than about your safety? It’s sadly common for companies to treat their workers like replaceable parts, valuable only for their productivity at the end of the day.
One way you tell whether your company has your back is whether or not it offers workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation allows workers to receive a fair wage after being injured in the line of duty. As a laborer, you risk your health for a regular paycheck. Doesn’t your boss owe you something in return?
Why is Workers’ Compensation Important?
Workers’ compensation allows you, the worker, the peace of mind in knowing that you’ll still be able to support yourself and your family if you become injured on the job. It also demonstrates your company’s dedication to care for its workers. If you find out you are not covered, it’s time to make some big decisions about your career path immediately.
So How Do You Know Whether You’ll Be Covered?
Worker’s compensation is always as standard as you might think. It’s the law, right? Well, yes, but there are ways around these requirements. One trick that companies occasionally play is to call workers independent contractors as opposed to employees.
In the age of the gig economy, independent contractors are everywhere. Ride-share companies, advertisers, graphic design firms, and many other different types of companies would prefer contractors with fixed, short-term obligations as a bypass of carrying workers’ compensation. The law requires less of these companies when they utilize contractor services. If you’re a contractor, ask your human resources rep if you qualify for workers’ compensation. Do this before you need it.
If I’m Not Covered, What Should I Do?
If your company does not include you in its workers compensation plan and you feel you could be at risk for injury, you have three options:
- Get a new job. Your best option is to move to a different company. A job that cuts corners on this essential service is not worth your time, and they’ll likely cut important corners elsewhere.
- Petition to get coverage. If you have some leverage, use it. Maybe you can convince your boss to include you in a plan. Not only will you be helping yourself, you’ll be helping every other person in your position by providing a fair system.
- Worst case scenario: be careful. If you’re not covered under workers’ compensation, and you can’t get out or get coverage, you’re left with one option: to be extra careful and pray that no accidents leave you injured and incapable of work. Unemployment can devastate your career and life. Follow all proper safety protocols and keep your fingers crossed that your co-workers behave responsibly.
Workers’ Compensation: An All-Too-Rare Necessity
Workers’ compensation is an essential benefit, but not all employers do their best to ensure you’re covered. On the contrary, some companies go to great lengths to avoid covering their workers. Find your status, immediately. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, do something about it.