Part Time Help, Full Time Workers Compensation Headache

Written by
June 7th, 2012

Summer is upon us, and with that will come the opportunities for part time summer jobs. Seasonal businesses expand, and potential employees return home from college for the summer – these are great opportunities for all parties involved.

Wisconsin employers of part time summer help should be aware that there are some potential pitfalls that come with workers compensation claims as they relate to part time summer employees.

In Wisconsin, part time employees, in most cases, are not going to be paid part time wages if they are injured on the job. If your summer help is injured on the job, it is extremely likely that he or she will qualify to be paid full time wages during the period of disability.  Generally, part time wages would be expanded to forty hours, unless the injured worker is part of a regularly scheduled class of part time workers, or restricts his or her availability in the labor market to part time, and is not employed full time somewhere else. As a general rule, these are not conditions that would apply to your summer help.

A second challenge with summer help is that if you have an employee who is working on restrictions, and there is not work available within those restrictions, that person is entitled to an ongoing weekly benefit. The only thing the employer can do to stop that benefit is an offer of work, or a full release from the treating doctor.

The final consideration is what happens when the worker must return to school? If the employer has work available within the restrictions, but the worker is not available because he or she has returned to school, no benefits are owed. If the student is completely off, he or she would be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits until released to light duty. If the worker is attending school far away from where they spend their summers, it can be an even bigger challenge for the workers compensation insurance carrier to get the doctor to provide an updated examination or release to work.

Seasonal work can again be a benefit to all parties involved, employers should; however, be aware of their obligations should a workers become injured on the job. The best solution would be to make sure that you have a light duty return to work program to accommodate any injured worker released to restricted work.

For questions regarding workers compensation insurance in Wisconsin, contact knowledgebroker Mike Geldreich.

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