Workers’ Compensation for Employees and Contractors
Under New Jersey law, there are two requirements to qualify for workers’ compensation—you must have been working for a covered employer and you must have suffered the injury on the job. If you are on the company payroll, even if it’s under the table, you’ll most likely meet the test. But what if the company you’re working for contends that you are really an independent contractor? Can the employer successfully argue that you should be responsible for your own workers’ compensation coverage?
In New Jersey, it’s assumed that any individual providing services to a company in exchange for payment is an employee for workers’ compensation purposes, unless the employer can demonstrate that all of the following criteria are met:
- The employer does not direct or control the performance of the worker, either contractually or in fact. Evidence that the worker must be available during specific times, or that the worker regularly participates in scheduled meetings or company events, may indicate control and result in employee status
- The services rendered are outside the ordinary course of business, or are provided at some venue other than where the ordinary services of the company are conducted
- The worker performs these duties for hire in an independently established trade, profession, occupation or business
Often, disputes arise as to whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee for workers’ compensation purposes. In those situations, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development will required that the worker complete a questionnaire. Among the questions asked are:
- Is the worker required to work fixed hours?
- Does the worker provide similar services to other customers/clients?
- What type of business does the worker operate? Partnership, limited liability company, sole proprietorship?
- What percentage of income comes from this company?
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, our workers’ compensation attorney can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our offices, in New Brunswick at 732-247-3600 or in Somerville at 908-448-2560.