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What Types Of Employees Are Covered By Workers' Compensation Laws



As a general rule, nearly all types of employees are covered by workers' compensation laws unless that state's law exempts companies who have a minimum number of employees. There are a number of other groups or types who are not covered and these include the following;

  • Federal employees - The Federal Employees' Compensation Program does cover some federal employees such as postal workers.
  • Independent contractors - These are workers who contract independently with a company or individual and would need to have their own private disability insurance.
  • Harbor workers and Seafarers - This group is usually covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, a federal law, or by the Jones Act, which also handles maritime injuries.
  • Railroad workers - Rail workers are protected under the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA). The difference with traditional workers' compensation law under FELA is that the injured rail worker does have to prove the injury was caused at least in part by the employer's negligence.
  • Members of the military - An injured soldier cannot sue the U.S. government, even if the injury was totally non-combat related. National Guard members cannot collect compensation if they were on active duty at the time of the injury.
  • Coal miners - Miners can receive benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. They are eligible to receive monthly payments and medical care.
  • Agricultural workers - Most states do not require agricultural employers to provide workers' compensation to migrant and seasonal workers, although 13 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands do require employers to provide the same coverage as any other worker.
  • Domestics - These are workers who are employed in a household. Some states require domestic workers who work a certain minimum number of hours to be provided workers' compensation benefits. Otherwise, the coverage is voluntary by the employer.

If you are unsure whether you belong to a group or are a certain type of employee that is covered by workers 'compensation laws, contact your state's workers' compensation agency or labor department.