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Are Seasonal Workers Entitled to Workers’ Comp Benefits?

By Gerald Connor
Are Seasonal Workers Entitled to Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Seasonal workers who are injured on the job may claim workers’ compensation benefits through their employers. Some employers may not operate year-round, or they may need additional help at certain times of the year. To fill their available jobs, they may hire seasonal employees or workers who perform labor or provide services seasonally. As temporary employees, issues sometimes arise with their benefit eligibility for injuries suffered on the job.

Defining Employees for Workers’ Comp Eligibility

Although they may not be full-time or year-round workers, many seasonal workers meet the state’s definition of an employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation eligibility. The state’s workers’ compensation act covers all workers under the employment of another person or business who were hired, work primarily in, or were injured in Illinois, regardless of whether they work full-time, part-time, or seasonally.

Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Seasonal workers who suffer occupational injuries may receive the same benefits as other employees injured in the workplace. The benefits available through the state’s workers’ compensation program include payment for any reasonable medical care needed to relieve or cure employees of their work-related injuries or illnesses. For instance, this may include the fees and expenses for necessary doctor’s visits, procedures, medications, or rehabilitation.  

Seasonal workers may also receive temporary partial, temporary total, permanent partial, or permanent total disability benefits. The workers’ compensation program pays these benefits to compensate workers who are unable to work, are on light duty, or are earning less during their recoveries, those who are permanently disabled or disfigured but still able to work, or people who are permanently unable to work because of their injuries.

Calculating Seasonal Workers’ Wages

Due to their limited employment, the average weekly wage for seasonal employees may vary significantly from that of full-time workers, which may lead to issues in determining their disability benefit payment amounts. Temporary total disability and permanent total disability payout two-thirds of workers’ lost wages while employees are out of work. Temporary partial and permanent partial disability payout two-thirds of the difference between what people earned before their injuries and what they earn on light duty or in another job. While the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission determined that seasonal workers recovering from occupational injuries during their off-season may still receive benefits during that time, insurance companies may only consider the wages they have earned with the employer in determining the average weekly wage and corresponding disability payment amounts.