Many people are working more than one job to make ends meet. In fact, according to the United States Census Bureau, over the last 20 years the percentage of Americans holding down more than one job increased from 6.8% to 7.2%, or 13 million people.
What happens, though, when someone with more than one job is hurt at work? Does workers’ compensation cover the income loss for both jobs? In Pennsylvania, the answer is yes provided the employee has what is called ‘concurrent employment.’
What is concurrent employment and how does it affect workers’ compensation? Let’s take a look at what defines concurrent employment, what is covered under workers’ compensation for an employee with two jobs, and what you should do if you are injured at work.
What is Concurrent Employment?
Concurrent employment is when a worker holds two different jobs with two different employers at the same time. Concurrent employment also extends to workers who hold two different jobs for the SAME employer. For example, if an employee at a grocery store works as both a customer service employee and an overnight stocking clerk and is paid two separate wages, they would be considered as working under concurrent employment.
Multiple jobs can all be part-time jobs, or one can be part-time and the other full-time. The critical thing to remember is that the worker must be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor at their employer. An employee is someone who receives a W-2 for taxes, and an independent contractor receives a 1099 at tax time.
If you are injured at work and hold two jobs, having a workers’ comp attorney on your side can help reduce the stress of filing for a workers’ compensation claim. Many insurance companies try to minimize their financial burden of a work injury claim and may not take into account the compensation from your second job, leaving you without enough income to cover your living expenses. In most cases, it makes sense to talk to an attorney to understand your rights when you are injured on the job.
Concurrent Employment and Workers’ Compensation
In the state of Pennsylvania, your workers’ comp benefit amount is calculated based on the wages of both jobs if both employers are required to provide workers’ comp insurance under PA’s workers’ compensation laws. If your second employer, though, is not required to provide workers’ comp insurance, your benefit amount will be calculated using only the wages of the job where you were injured.
The benefit amount paid or awarded, which is typically two-thirds of what is called your “average weekly wage,” will depend on the consequences of your work injury. There are several different scenarios that may apply, including:
- Your injury prevents you from working at one job, but not both. For example, let’s say you broke your foot at work and your job requires you to be on your feet all day. Your second job is a desk job and even with your injury you are still able to work. In this scenario, assuming that you are not experiencing a loss of earnings at your second job, your workers’ comp benefit amount is calculated using your average weekly wage of ONLY the job that you cannot perform while you are injured.
- Your injury prevents you from working both jobs. If your work injury prevents you from being able to perform your work duties at both of your jobs, your workers’ compensation benefit amount would include your wages from BOTH your employer where the accident occurred as well as the secondary employer, assuming both companies carry workers’ comp insurance.
- Your injury is not eligible for workers’ comp benefits. In some cases, the wages at your second job will not be a factor in your benefit amount. This occurs if you are an independent contractor or sometimes even an employee of the federal government.
If you are injured on the job, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp cases can become complicated, especially if you have more than one job. Working with a Lancaster, PA workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your rights and ease the burden of the legal process.
What to Do if You are Injured at Work
Being hurt on the job is a tough experience, especially when you are working more than one job. The good news is that the PA Workers’ Compensation system is designed to help you with your loss of income and medical bills while you recover.
If you are injured at work and have one job, two jobs, or more, it’s important to follow the workers’ compensation process to best protect your rights to workers’ comp. Here are the steps to take immediately following your work injury:
- Report your injury as soon as possible: The workers’ comp process begins the moment you are injured or the moment that you know, or should reasonably know, that your medical condition is related to your work duties. There are multiple time requirements and deadlines in PA’s workers comp system, so you should immediately notify your employer of your injury. As soon as you can, inform your employer of the accident, preferably in writing, detailing your injuries. Ask for copies of the written report.
- Ask for the list of approved workers’ comp physicians: Under workers’ comp law, you are required to visit one of your employer’s approved physicians after a workplace accident that results in an injury. Ask for the “panel list” of physicians or healthcare providers. You are required to see them for the first 90 days after your injury.
- Seek medical treatment: Even if you feel your injuries are minor and do not need medical attention, it’s important to see a provider on the panel list. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding, a herniated disc in the spine or a small fracture, aren’t immediately apparent and can worsen over time. Thus, getting the mechanism of injury documented as close to the time it occurred as possible can be critical to the success and value of your comp claim. Be transparent with the medical provider and be sure they document all your symptoms related to your injury.
- Consult with a workers’ comp lawyer: Workers’ comp cases can become complicated, especially if you have more than one job. An experienced Central Pennsylvania workers’ comp attorney can help you navigate the process and fight for your rights. Insurance companies may try to minimize your compensation amount, delay the process, or not consider the wages you will lose from your second job. Having an attorney on your side can make all the difference in getting the benefits you are owed.
If you were injured at work and have more than one job, it’s critical to report your earnings from your second job to your primary employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. If your secondary company has workers’ comp insurance, your total benefits will be calculated using both wages. Do not let the insurance company deter you from filing a claim – you have the right to workers’ comp after an injury accident!
Workers’ Comp Attorneys in Lancaster, PA.
Georgelis Injury Law Firm has been representing workers injured on the job for decades and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve after being hurt at work. Filing a workers’ comp claim when you have concurrent, or dual, employment can become complicated, so let us take on the workers’ comp claim process for you. Work injuries can result in lost wages and piles of medical bills – and you deserve workers’ compensation benefits while you are away from work.
Your employer and its workers’ comp insurance company have a team of lawyers, investigators, medical case managers and others working hard to minimize their financial burden after a work accident—you deserve the same level and degree of legal representation. Our team of attorneys and paralegals has more than 100 years of litigation experience and knows the workers’ comp system inside-out.
If you are injured at work, reach out to us today for a free consultation. We will evaluate your case free of charge and will not take a fee unless we win your case. Call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW or connect with us online.