There are millions of part-time workers employed in various capacities in the U.S., including thousands of Atlanta workers. Just as full-time employees, many of these part-time workers sustain injuries while performing their job duties. If you are a part-time worker in Atlanta and you are injured on the job, you may face serious medical expenses or need to spend time away from work. In the aftermath of a workplace injury, you may wonder how you will be able to deal with these losses. The fact is nearly all workers in Atlanta, even part-time employees, are covered by Georgia workers’ compensation and eligible for benefits if they have been injured on the job. If you are confused about your rights, speaking to a qualified Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation RequirementsAccording to Georgia laws, any employer who has three or more employees, part-time or full-time, must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their workers. When a worker is injured, this insurance program pays benefits to cover medical, rehabilitation, and income benefits to the injured worker as they work towards recovery. If you are a part-time employee in Atlanta and you are injured while during the course of your employment, you can file a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia to receive all the same benefits as a full-time employee. This includes medical benefits to cover any medical expenses to the injury as well as income benefits for lost wages due to your time away from work. The injuries, however, must have been sustained performing assigned job duties. In Georgia, injuries that were the result of accidents that occurred during a break or engaging in unassigned duties would not be eligible for workers’ compensation. There are some types of employment that do not require employers to carry workers’ compensation in Georgia, including domestic servants, sports officials, farm laborers, and railroad common carriers.
Part-Time vs. Independent ContractorOne of the common ways employers try to avoid having to pay for workers’ compensation is by classifying employees as independent contractors. This is because the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act does not cover anyone working as an independent contractor. Many people do not fully understand the difference between a part-time worker and an independent contractor. Although it can be difficult to classify an independent contractor, there are a few key factors that distinguish a true independent contractor from an employee:
- Behavioral – While an employee must perform job duties how, when, and where the employer mandates, independent contractors typically can complete their tasks when, where, and how they want to. Independent contractors are ultimately only responsible for completing the task or coming up with a finished product.
- Financial Control – Employees are paid regular wages on a schedule set by the employer. In contrast, independent contractors usually negotiate a contract with the employer and are paid on a per-job basis.
- Type of Relationship – Pension plans, insurance, vacation pay and other types of contracts are the norm for employer/employee relationships since employees perform ongoing regular work for a company. Independent contractors, in exchange for greater flexibility and control, do not have these benefits.