Are seasonal workers covered by workers’ compensation in SC?
If you were only hired at a department store to help with the holiday rush, or if you were hired at a beach store for the summer season, you are most likely covered by workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job.
There are some exemptions to workers’ compensation coverage, however, that may affect seasonal or temporary workers – below, we will discuss when seasonal workers are covered by workers’ compensation and the types of employment that are exempt from workers’ compensation coverage.
Across the state, department stores, restaurants, and other businesses hire extra staff to help them get through the holiday rush – many are hired in November and may be employed through Christmas or New Years’, but, come January, they are out of a job.
In Myrtle Beach and the surrounding area, beach stores, restaurants, and other businesses that rely on tourists hire summer help every year – they may be employed through the spring, summer, and part of the fall, but, when winter comes around and the tourists leave town, they are out of a job.
SC’s workers’ compensation laws make no exceptions for seasonal or temporary workers. Unless your employer is exempt for another reason (see below), they are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for on-the-job injuries.
Part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees in SC are entitled to the same protections as full-time, year-round employees, including workers’ compensation coverage unless your employer is exempt.
You are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage the first day on your job, regardless of how long your employment will last.
When a seasonal or temporary worker is injured on the job and during the scope of their employment, they are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits that are given to full-time, permanent employees:
If a seasonal employee does not ordinarily work in the off-season, they will not be entitled to benefits during that time. On the other hand, if a seasonal employee can show that they ordinarily find another job during the off-season, they may be entitled to disability benefits during the time when they would have been employed but for the injury.
Not every seasonal employee is covered by workers’ compensation in SC – there are exemptions, found in SC Code Section 42-1-360, that apply to all SC employers.
Whether they are seasonal or year-round, SC’s workers’ compensation laws do not apply to:
Note that many seasonal workers in SC are agricultural workers, and agricultural workers are specifically excluded from workers’ compensation coverage in SC, whether they are seasonal, temporary, part-time, full-time, or year-round employees.
“Casual” workers are also excluded from workers’ compensation coverage, but what does “casual” mean?
Casual does not mean seasonal or temporary. SC Code Section 42-1-130 defines the term “employee” for purposes of workers’ compensation coverage and excludes workers “whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of his employer.”
If a teenager in the neighborhood stops by the office and offers to cut the grass for a few bucks, they are a casual employee – their employment is “casual,” and they are not employed “in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of [the] employer.”