Questions often arise over who is liable for injuries suffered on the job by temporary workers in Illinois, the staffing agencies who employ them or the client companies who contract their services. Hired by staffing agencies, temporary workers are paired with available work through third-party companies. Unfortunately, temporary workers often perform grunt work in unsafe conditions. Lack of training and proper PPE puts temp workers at high risk for suffering serious occupational injuries.
Workers’ Comp Rights for Temporary and Day Laborers
Over the course of an average week, staffing companies across the U.S. put over three million temporary and contract employees to work, according to the American Staffing Association. About 174,350 of those are temporarily employed in Illinois. In Chicago, over 63% of warehouse workers are temps. With so many temporary workers, staffing agencies, and contracting companies, the lines often become blurred when it comes to responsibility for workplace safety and workers’ comp.
When temp workers suffer occupational injuries while performing work for a third-party client company, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of their training or time on the job. Temporary and day laborers’ wages are paid by their staffing agencies. Likewise, the liability for work-related injuries also falls to the staffing companies that employ these workers, not the client companies for whom they are providing a service.
Temporary and day laborers injured on the job may receive the same types of benefits as direct-hire workers. Workers’ compensation covers the cost of any reasonably necessary medical treatments, including surgery, splinting, physical therapy, and doctor’s office visits. Injured temporary workers may also receive temporary total or partial disability payments or permanent total or partial disability payments depending on the severity of their injuries and the period during which they will be out of work as a result of them.
The Legal Obligations of Staffing Agencies
The Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act requires that staffing agencies carry workers’ compensation coverage for those employed through their companies. Maintaining this coverage is a registration requirement for any staffing company operating in the state. Should their workers’ compensation policies lapse, then staffing agencies’ registration will be suspended until the coverage is resumed. Failures to maintain their workers’ compensation coverage or operating with suspended registration could result in the assessment of a $500 fine for each violation.