You just started a new job, and you’re excited about the opportunity it represents. Then, trouble strikes: You didn’t get a clear explanation about how to use a piece of equipment, and you ended up hurt on your very first day at work.
Your boss tells you that you’re not eligible for workers’ compensation, including the medical benefits, because you’ve barely started and are just “too new” to be covered. Is this correct?
Your eligibility for benefits begins the moment you clock in
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been on the job for a year or an hour, you’re covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation plan the moment you start work. Generally speaking, this includes:
- Part-time workers
- Temporary employees
- Seasonal workers
- Undocumented immigrant employees
- Employees still in training
- Employees still on probation
There are some notable exceptions to coverage. The most common situation where a worker isn’t covered is when the worker is an independent contractor.
Employers are very conscious of the fact that every claim for benefits has the potential to increase their insurance rates, so that’s why they may try hard to dissuade a newly hired employee (or any other employee) from making a claim.
If you’re a new hire and your injury wasn’t witnessed by others, it’s possible that your employer is simply suspicious that you weren’t injured on the job at all and are merely seeking some kind of “handout.” Don’t let their suspicions – or the fear of illegal retaliation – keep you from filing for the benefits you are rightfully due.