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Household Employees, Self Employment and Workers Compensation

The Law Offices of Jonathan M. Brand Feb. 26, 2019

California requires household employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance for their household employees such as nanny, senior caregivers or housekeepers working more than 52 hours per quarter (90 days).

 Labor Code Section 3352(h) excludes from the definition of “employee” under workers’ compensation: “ Any person …who was employed by the employer to be held liable for less than 52 hours during the 90 calendar days immediately preceding the date of injury… or who earned less than one hundred dollars ($100) in wages from the employer during the 90 calendar days immediately preceding the injury.”

Thus, to be classified as an employee and receive workers’ compensation benefits, a nanny or other household worker must pass either the 52 hour test or the $100 wage test. An employee should always ask whether a potential employer has the proper insurance coverage to protect against an injury sustained on the job site and Labor Code Section 2810.5 requires employers to provide minimum notice to household workers. Typically, the insurance is obtained as a rider on the employer’s homeowner’s insurance policy.  Under Insurance Code Section 11590, all homeowners insurance companies are required to offer a workers’ compensation endorsement that provides compensation for household employees that are injured in the course of their employment.

What if the Employer Failed to Secure Workers Compensation?

If it is determined the employer failed to obtain workers’ compensation coverage, and the injured worker is determined to be an employee for workers’ compensation purposes,   after serving the employer with the Application, the injured worker could request joinder of the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) under Labor Code Section 3716. If the employer does not have the funds to cover the Awarded amount in ten days, the Award would come from the director of the UEF.

Self-Employment and Workers Compensation

Workers compensation insurance is optional for most self-employed workers. If you are a roofer with a C-39 license, or a self-employed individual in other hazardous fields, you may need to obtain a workers’ compensation policy for your own injuries. This is outlined in the Business and Professions Code Section 7125.

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