Workers Comp Blog

When does California Workers Compensation coverage not apply to an employee?

Many California business owners may think that when their employees clock out at the end of the day, their workers comp coverage clocks out alongside them but that is not always the case.  Workers comp quotes and or policies cover the medical cost and loss of wages for your employees who have been injured while working on the job however what constitutes “on the job” can extend further than you may have thought. Let’s take a look at the rules governing how workers comp typically applies as well as the exception to those rules.

The Rules for Workers Compensation for Employees

As mentioned, California workers comp quotes apply when an employee is injured due to an accident while working. This refers to any performance of job duties regardless of the time of day or location. This definition includes the following:

  1. Outside Regular Business Hours- if an employee is working on a job assignment outside of the normal hours of operation, they would qualify for workers comp coverage should an injury arise because they are still considered to be working.
  2. Special Mission- when you request your employee to drop off mail or pick up supplies on the way home from work, for example, this would be considered a “special mission”, as it is causing the employee to go off course from his or her normal route. Workers comp benefits would apply in this case because, even though the employee is not at the office or workplace, he or she is still performing job-related duties.

Exceptions to The Work Comp Rules

Of course, not every scenario that is eligible for California workers comp coverage fits neatly within the discussed rules. There are some exceptions such as:

  1. The “Going and Coming” Rule- also known as the “Portal to Portal” rule, refers to the commute an employee takes daily to get to and from work. Although not on the clock or performing any job duties, employee’s injuries arising during this time can still be covered under workers comp coverage.
  2. Off Work Visits- if an employee visits the office or workplace when they are not scheduled to come in they are not covered unless the employer has knowledge and has given permission of their visit. Your workers comp quote or policy could still be liable for injuries during these approved visits.
  3. Employer’s Controlled Areas- areas, such as parking lots and sidewalks, that an employee must use to get into the workplace are considered controlled by the employer. “Controlled”, in this case, means the areas the employer pays for in any way or designates as a common area for their company’s staff. Employees most likely are not working or on the clock while in the parking lot yet coverage still applies for them in these areas.

By knowing when, where, and how California workers comp quote or coverage applies beyond the clear circumstances will help you as a business owner in making the best decisions when assigning your employees to certain tasks. Because the bounds of what is and is not covered may not always be clear and every business is unique with its own operations and employee responsibilities, it is important to reach out to a California workers comp insurance broker with any questions you may have or to obtain a workers comp quote for this necessary and vital coverage.