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Having long term temp employees may lead to work comp issues

California’s economy may seem to be on the mend, but it may come at a cost. According to a recent LA Times.com report, the use of so-called “perma-temp” employees may create untenable problems when it comes to California workers’ compensation rules. Under state law, employers are required to purchase and maintain workers’ comp insurance commensurate with the number of permanent employees they have. However, as we have highlighted in prior posts, some employers attempt to evade this requirement by hiring temporary employees or independent contractors on a long term basis. 

Since these employees ostensibly do not count as “regular” employees, they may not be seen as being eligible for workers’ compensation from their employer in the event they are injured. Rather, this responsibility may be shifted to the staffing agency that found the job for the employee. However, disputes may arise as to whether the staffing agency, or the company supervising the work done is actually responsible for providing such benefits when injured workers seek them. The potential finger-pointing between a temp agency and a client company may leave an injured worker in the lurch.

This conundrum may likely be resolved through legislation currently making its way through the Assembly. The proposal seeks to make labor contractors and client companies jointly responsible for several things employees need, including payment of wages and payment of workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an injury.

In the meantime, an employer may benefit from the counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation defense attorney to resolve any question or dispute over which entity is responsible for providing benefits.

Source: LA Times.com “Rising use of ‘perma-temp’ workers is stirring up a legislative fight,” Marc Lifsher, May 7, 2014 

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