Do Part-Time Workers Qualify for Workers Compensation Benefits?

Do Part-Time Workers Qualify for Workers Compensation Benefits?

Do Part-Time Workers Qualify for Workers Compensation Benefits?

Part-time workers play a vital role in many industries, contributing their skills and efforts to various businesses. However, when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, questions may arise regarding their eligibility. It’s essential to understand how part-time employment status impacts one’s ability to access these benefits.

In many cases, part-time workers do qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of their hours worked per week. While some employee benefits like health insurance and 401(k) matching are often reserved for full-time employees, workers’ compensation is typically available to all employees, including part-time workers. This means that part-time employees injured on the job are entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages.

The eligibility of part-time workers for workers’ compensation benefits is usually determined by state laws. In Minnesota, for instance, the law mandates coverage for any injury that occurs “out of and in the course of employment,” without specifying a minimum number of hours worked. Therefore, part-time employees in Minnesota are generally covered under the state’s workers’ compensation system.

However, it’s essential to note that certain categories of workers may be excluded from workers’ compensation coverage, regardless of their employment status. Independent contractors, casual employees, and volunteers are typically not considered employees under workers’ compensation laws and, therefore, may not be eligible for benefits.

Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are individuals who operate their own businesses and provide services to clients for a fee. While some part-time workers may be classified as independent contractors, merely receiving a 1099 form or signing an independent contractor agreement does not automatically establish independent contractor status. Courts often consider factors such as the level of control, risk, and investment involved in determining a worker’s classification.

Casual Employees

Similarly, casual employees, such as occasional babysitters hired by individuals for short-term or intermittent work, are typically excluded from workers’ compensation coverage. Casual employment arrangements are often informal and sporadic, falling outside the scope of traditional employer-employee relationships.


Volunteers, who provide services to businesses without expecting payment, are also not considered employees and are generally ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. While volunteers play an essential role in many organizations, they are not covered under workers’ compensation laws.

Other Part-Time Employees

A more typical part-time employee would be someone who works significantly less than 40 hours per week as an employee of a business. While this class of employees is often not eligible for health insurance or 401 contribution, they will generally be eligible for workers compensation benefits.

While part-time workers generally qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of eligibility, especially for certain categories of workers. By familiarizing themselves with state laws and seeking legal guidance when needed, part-time workers can ensure they receive the support and compensation they deserve in the event of a work-related injury.