If you have a teen who works part-time during the school year or gets a job over winter and summer breaks, you may not have realized that if they become injured or ill because of their work, they’re eligible in most cases to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Missouri law requires employers with at least five employees to have workers’ comp coverage. Construction businesses must have this coverage as long as they have at least one employee. Employees are eligible even if they have part-time or temporary jobs.
Missouri employers have regulations around what type of work minors can do, at what age they can be employed and how many hours they can work. Employers also owe these young workers a safe and healthy workplace.
Why teens are more likely to be injured than older workers
Teens are often among the likeliest workers to suffer injuries for multiple reasons. They too often don’t get the same safety training as full-time adult workers. They tend to be newer at the job and work fewer hours than their full-time colleagues, so they don’t have the experience that helps people avoid injuries.
Teens are also more likely to volunteer to lift and carry things or climb up to reach something than older employees. In fact, older employees often rely on them to do things they can’t or don’t want to do.
Young workers may be less likely to report an injury or seek medical treatment because they don’t think it’s serious. They’re often afraid that if they report the injury, they’ll have their hours cut or lose their job.
Retaliation against an employee for suffering or reporting an injury or seeking workers’ comp is illegal. However, too few teens (or their parents) know their rights. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for reporting an unsafe work condition. In fact, they have an obligation to do so.
We’re heading into one of the busiest, most stressful times of the year for many businesses. College students will be getting jobs to earn some money and keep busy over their breaks. The chances of injury will rise even more. It’s crucial for your teen or young adult to know their workplace rights – including their right to workers’ comp if they’re injured – in most cases even if it’s their fault. If you have concerns or questions or if your child is having difficulty getting the workers’ comp to which they’re entitled, it can help to consult with a legal professional.