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Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Comp in CA?

self employed business owner

Throughout the nation, employees have the right to compensation if they are hurt on the job, with California offering some of the most comprehensive workers’ compensation coverage in the US. Here, if an employer has just one employee, they are required by law to have workers’ compensation Insurance. Additionally, the definition of who counts as an employee is defined broadly and includes all of the following:

  • Full-time workers
  • Part-time workers
  • Seasonal workers
  • Workers who are not American citizens
  • Green card holders and even undocumented immigrants are eligible for workers’ compensation; however, there are some restrictions regarding their benefits.

While workers’ compensation is rather comprehensive, some individuals are exempt from workers’ comp in California. Under California Labor Code, Division 4, Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 3352, these workers include the following:

  • Sole Proprietors and business owners (excluding roofers)
  • Business owners
  • Independent contractors like gig workers
  • Workers who receive food and shelter as compensation as opposed to pay
  • Domestic workers who are related to their employers
  • Volunteer workers, including nonprofit volunteers
  • Deputy sheriffs & deputy clerks
  • Amateur sports officials and students participating in amateur sports

Misclassification of Independent Contractors

It can be costly for a business, especially a small business, to provide workers’ compensation to its employees. To avoid paying workers’ comp (and overtime and other employee benefits), many employers circumvent this issue by hiring independent contractors for their business needs instead.

Independent contractors are workers who are self-employed and are not direct employees of the business. Much like employees, however, these independent contractors are able to successfully complete the work needed by the company; they just don’t receive the benefits that traditional employees do.

Following recent legislative changes to California law, it’s important for workers to understand whether they are properly classified as an employee or independent contractor with the company or business that hired them. Failing to understand your classification with the hiring entity can cause you to miss out on benefits you may be entitled to.

These legislative changes have hit certain industries including the “gig worker” industry especially hard. As outlined by California Assembly Bill 5, in order to be classified as an independent contractor, an individual must meet each of the following requirements:

  • The worker is free from control and direction in the performance of services; and
  • The worker is performing work outside the usual course of the business of the hiring company; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.

In some cases, employers might misclassify their workers as employees when they are in fact independent contractors and vice versa. If you have been misclassified by your hiring entity, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation in the event of an injury.

Do I Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance if I Am Self-Employed?

With the exception of roofers who work as independent contractors, self-employed individuals do not need to purchase workers’ compensation.

According to the US Department of Labor data on dangerous occupations, being a roofer ranks as number three of the most dangerous jobs. Because of its dangerous nature, California law requires roofers to carry workers’ compensation. In the event of an injury, an individual will have access to proper medical care.

Understand Your Legal Rights with Invictus Law

Whether you’re looking to learn more about your workers’ compensation rights or have suffered an injury following a workplace accident, contacting an experienced workers’ comp injury attorney can be a good place to start.

At Invictus Law, our dedicated team will work with you to help you understand your workers’ compensation rights.

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury and need to move forward with a worker’s compensation claim, seeking out legal guidance is one of the best ways to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact our board-certified workers’ compensation specialist today to discuss your case.

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