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Workers' compensation rights and informal employees

In the state of California, there are a growing number of workers who are considered to be "informal employees." It is estimated that as many as one in six workers fall into this category, and it raises concerns regarding workers' compensation benefits for these workers. Particularly in the construction industry, workers' compensation benefits are especially important, including for workers who are unreported or undocumented.

It is estimated that there are almost 900,000 construction workers in California, and almost 150,000 of them are "informal." In some cases, these unreported workers were listed as independent contractors, despite not meeting any of the specific requirements. There are many factors contributing to this trend, including a recovering economy and a high turnover rate in the construction industry.

One of the concerning factors is the lack of documentation and support for workers who are not reported or "shadow laborers." What happens to these workers if they are injured on the job? Do remaining family members receive death benefits from workers' compensation insurance if a shadow laborer is killed at work? It is useful for all employees in every type of job to understand their rightful benefits in case of an on the job injury.

Workers' compensation benefits are typically available to employees injured in a work accident. Most employers in California are required to provide this state-regulated insurance coverage. Many workers in this situation seek professional assistance to make certain their claim is filed in a timely and proper manner and to represent the worker's interests throughout the claims process.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "1 in 6 California construction workers labors in shadows, study finds", Tiffany Hsu, Aug. 31, 2014

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