What Jobs Are Exempt From Workers’ Comp in Pennsylvania?
Workers’ compensation provides for workers when they’re injured on the job. Without it, many people in Pennsylvania might be left to struggle under the weight of recovery. Medical bills can pile up depending on the injury, and the costs of living don’t go down when you’re not working. This can make workers’ comp a lifeboat for many people, but there are several jobs that are exempt from workers’ comp.
What Does it Mean to Be Exempt From Workers’ Compensation?
Before you start a new job, go on a risky assignment, or apply for workers’ comp, make sure you’re not exempt. Being exempt usually means that you can opt-out of something, but in this case, Pennsylvania law says that being exempt means your employer doesn’t have to cover these types of employees. They can if they choose to, with many doing so to attract talent and avoid lawsuits, but many who don’t have to will not.
In some cases, it may just mean that your position is covered by a federal government law rather than Pennsylvania’s. In those cases, you may need to file with someone other than your employer’s insurance. You should learn whether this is the case should you ever need to file for workers’ comp.
The personal injury attorneys at Mazzoni Petorak Karam & Valvano can help you understand if you’re owed workers’ comp or if you need to file a lawsuit against your employer to get the help you need.
What Positions are Exempt?
Pennsylvania law outlines several types of positions that employers don’t need to have workers’ comp coverage for. These include:
- Federal Employees: In this instance, government agents from the FBI, NSA, and the military are not covered by PA’s workers’ comp. This does not mean they are left to themselves. They are covered by the federal government’s own laws. Their law is the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA).
- Railroad Workers: Like federal employees, they are covered by their own federal act. This is called the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), but is also referred to as the Railroad Workers Act. Railroad workers commonly work across states, which is why they’re exempt from PA’s workers’ comp, but need their own federal law.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers: Due to the international nature of their work, they have their own law that gives coverage, but makes them exempt from PA’s workers’ comp. The law that provides them coverage is called the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Domestic Servants: A domestic servant is anyone who works in a residence or on an estate. Think of a personal maid, gardener, cook, butler, or nanny. These types of positions are exempt from workers’ comp, and may not get compensation without a legal battle if they’re injured on the job.
- Agricultural Workers: If an employee has worked less than 30 days or earns less than $1,200 a year in an agricultural environment, they are not eligible for workers’ comp.
- Executive Employees: Because of their high pay and the low likelihood of performing any dangerous tasks, they are exempt from workers’ comp.
When there is no federal or state law to guarantee personal injury compensation, an employer can still choose to offer coverage to those exempt.
Can You Refuse Workers’ Comp?
It is common for people to refuse workers’ compensation for two reasons. They have an executive status and/or a strongly held religious belief.
It’s common for executives to decide that they have the wealth to care for themselves without their employer’s insurance. They may also believe that since their position rarely puts them at any risk, their company shouldn’t spend money covering them.
Some religious beliefs do not allow for medical treatment, and because of that, they refuse workers’ comp as well.
Find Out if You’re Exempt With the Help of MVSK Law
If you’re not sure whether or not your position is covered by Pennsylvania’s Worker Compensation Act, we can help. We have helped people injured on the job and those whose injuries should have been covered but weren’t given their deserved compensation for years. We’ve helped people get the workers’ comp they deserve.
Contact us immediately for help before it’s too late. The personal injury attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam are always ready to help.