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Who is and is not covered by New York workers' compensation?

In New York state, employers have an obligation to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage, regardless of fault. This means if you are hurt on the job, you can obtain immediate medical care, as well as longer-term rehabilitation treatment if it's necessary. In the event your work injury or illness causes you to lose time from work, you may be entitled to monetary compensation.

So who exactly is covered? The list is long but does have limits. One of the key factors that determines who must be covered is the employer's business status.

Coverage must be provided:

  • When the business is for-profit. If you are full-time, part-time, a borrowed or leased employee, coverage is required. This also applies to family members or others who might volunteer for the business.
  • By city and county governments to employees in jobs defined by law as hazardous.
  • To public school teachers, except in New York City.
  • To state workers, including some volunteer workers.
  • For full-time domestic employees. This applies to baby sitters, companions, and live-in service personnel.
  • To farm workers if they earned more than $1,200 in the previous calendar year.
  • For any worker the Board of Workers' Compensation determines is an employee and is not specifically excluded by law.
  • To most compensated nonprofit employees.

As you likely gather from that last statement, the requirements for those in the nonprofit realm are not always covered. Those not covered include:

  • Volunteers for nonprofits. If you receive compensation in the form of a stipend or room and board, you are excluded from workers' compensation protection.
  • Teachers for nonprofit religious or charitable institutions. They must be teachers exclusively.
  • Those who receive charitable aid in return for work for the agency.
  • Individuals covered by other workers' comp systems. This includes maritime, railroad or federal employees.
  • Occasional workers around the home. A key exception exists for those working with power machinery.
  • Individuals working as independent contractors.

While almost all employees are covered by workers' compensation, exceptions clearly exist. To be sure of your specific rights when you are hurt, consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

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