As the Holiday Season approaches, people often search for ways to make extra money in order to buy that perfect Christmas gift. People young and old eagerly fill positions at malls and Christmas tree farms hiring seasonal help. Unfortunately, seasonal workers statistically tend to suffer injuries more than the "year-round" employees.
Whether you are working in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, a worker who is hired for seasonal work is considered an "employee" under the state's workers' compensation system and essentially has the same rights as a "year-round" employee. Therefore, if you are hired from now until the end of the year, you will have the same protections and rights of other employees despite your employment only being for a short period of time.
As a seasonal employee, one of your benefits is the right to obtain proper reasonable medical care for your injuries. You may also potentially be able to be paid while out of work for your injuries. Technically, a seasonal worker who is injured the first day on the job will have the same rights for medical coverage as a worker who is there year-round.
It has been argued that seasonal workers tend to suffer more injuries for a number of reasons. First, employers tend to not invest sufficient time in training the seasonal employee. Workers who are not shown the proper safety rules often suffer injuries due to a lack of training. For example, seasonal workers in shipping and receiving departments may sustain injuries because they were not given sufficient time to learn the safety features of a forklift or how to properly operate the machinery. Second, the seasonal employee is not as familiar with the work station. For example, a seasonal worker may be unfamiliar with the layout of a store and therefore trip and fall. Finally, due to the fast-paced nature of holiday shopping, seasonal workers often try to maintain unrealistic speeds to match the demands of the employer.
In summary, if you or someone you know plans to take a seasonal job this Holiday Season, it is important to ask the proper questions to ensure your rights are protected. A seasonal worker should be persistent and demand the appropriate safety training for the job. Also, the seasonal worker should seek the advice of a workers' compensation attorney in the event an injury occurs. Please have a safe Holiday Season.
The foregoing is not intended as legal advice, but a general discussion of the law. If you have a specific question or suffered an injury, please contact our office today to speak with an attorney.