Which jobs fall within workers’ compensation laws?

Many New Yorkers work. But not every New Yorker fits within the workers’ compensation laws. And many of those workers do not know whether those laws cover them. That disconnect can add an extra layer of effort precisely at a point when most workers do not have the time or ability to give it–right after they have suffered an on-the-job injury. That raises the question: Who is covered by New York’s workers’ compensation laws?

For-profit businesses: Every New Yorker who works for a for-profit business falls within the workers’-compensation umbrella. That umbrella extends to not only full-time workers, but also part-timers, volunteers and other types of workers. Meanwhile, New York-state workers enjoy similar levels of coverage (except that it does extend to all volunteers).

Public sector: State workers are covered generally (though some volunteers are not). But many county and municipal workers are not covered. Only employees with hazardous job duties (as defined by law) are covered. Similarly, statewide public-school teachers (and aides) are covered. But that coverage does not extend to teachers employed by New York City.

Non-profit sector: Most nonprofit-sector workers are covered.

Domestic workers: Maids, sitters and the like qualify if they work 40 hours or more for the same employer.

Farm workers: Farm workers are covered if they have earned at least $1,200 from farm labor during the previous calendar year.

As the list above underscores, certain categories of workers have an easy time deciding whether workers’ compensation law applies to them. But that task is far harder for other categories of workers. To help make that determination, New Yorkers may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced workers’-compensation attorney.

Source:, “Who Is Covered By The Workers’ Compensation Law?” Accessed Feb. 17, 2015


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