After the 2008 recession, many companies in Georgia and nationwide began hiring temporary employees to work in their warehouses, construction sites and factories. Nearly 3 million people now work for the temp industry, but a study of workers’ compensation claims shows that in at least five states, there’s a much higher rate of temp employees getting hurt on the job than permanent employees. This is because temp employees are more likely to be assigned jobs that are dangerous.
Blue collar temp jobs are lightly regulated, and workers are often assigned to jobs with little to no training. When a temp worker get injured, the company often is not required to pay the medical bills and fights with the temp agency over who the responsible party is, which can delay medical care. The workers’ compensation system was designed to prompt companies to better protect their workers, since those companies with high injury rates pay higher premiums. However, it’s the temp agency that is responsible for paying workers’ compensation costs.
Federal regulators believe that the injury rate is much higher than what has been reported. According to one official who went undercover, when she reported unsafe working conditions or requested a break or access to water after working for nine hours, she was denied access to that job in the future. Because having job denials on record can decrease the number of job assignments in the future, many temp workers may not be reporting injuries at all.
In most states, companies are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which will cover all medical costs and might cover a portion of any missed wages. If a settlement will not provide all of the necessary coverage, it might be necessary to decline the settlement and pursue a claim in court.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Temp Work Isn’t Only Insecure — It’s More Dangerous Too”, Michael Grabell, December 18, 2013
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