What you and your teen need to know about workers’ comp

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

If you’re a parent with a high school student who has a job every summer and maybe part-time during the school year as well, you probably hadn’t given any thought to the possibility that they might need workers’ compensation benefits until they suffered an injury. You might not even realize that they’re likely entitled to workers’ comp.

In fact, minors have the same right to workers’ comp if they suffer a work-related injury or illness as adult workers do. That’s true even if they work part-time or on a temporary or seasonal basis (for example, during summer and winter breaks). California requires that nearly all employers with at least one employee carry workers’ comp insurance. That doesn’t mean, however, that all of these employers know their responsibilities when it comes to young workers – or that they make sure that teen employees know their rights.

Teens need to know and be able to assert their rights

The California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) has a “Young Worker Bill of Rights.” This is designed to help them understand their rights in the workplace – including their right to receive workers’ comp benefits – so that they can feel more comfortable asserting them. For example, employers can’t terminate or otherwise retaliate against any employee for rightfully seeking workers’ comp benefits. Further, the fact that a teen worker likely doesn’t have a family to support like many adult employees have has nothing to do with their eligibility for workers’ comp.

Of course, it’s far better if a young worker isn’t injured in the first place. That’s why teens need to know their right to a safe workplace. Too often, employers don’t give part-time or summer employees the same amount of safety training and protective equipment, if applicable. Teens are often more likely to suffer work injuries in part due to this lack of training and equipment. Sometimes, it’s simply because young, eager workers are more likely to take on risky tasks, like lifting things that are too heavy for them. They may be less likely to ask for help with something that requires two people.

If your teen has suffered a work-related injury or illness, don’t let anyone mislead them or give them false information about their right to workers’ comp. If you have questions or concerns, it can help to seek personalized legal guidance.

FindLaw Network