Have you picked up some extra work this holiday season doing deliveries for Amazon, UPS or even a local business?
If so, you might want to find out exactly how your boss is classifying you on the rolls. Are you an independent contractor, essentially responsible for yourself and your own boss, or are you considered an actual employee and subject to all the company's rules?
The difference could be huge if you're in an accident while you're making a delivery. If you're an independent contractor, you're essentially on your own when it comes to providing for your own medical care and replacing any lost wages. If you're an employee, you have a right to wage protection and medical care under your employer's workers' comp insurance.
That's been a big problem in the past for some of the nation's biggest employers of delivery drivers. Amazon, for example, ran into major difficulty with some of its policies regarding the holiday help. Small companies may be even more inclined to skimp on adding temporary help to the insurance rolls -- hoping that they'll skate by without an incident that will call anything into question.
Keep in mind that if you're doing holiday deliveries -- whether you've been given a company vehicle, a U-Haul that's been temporarily rented to meet the increased demands of the season or are delivering out of your own car, there are many different ways you can end up injured and out of work:
- You could get into an accident on the road while driving.
- You could slip and fall while climbing uneven porch steps.
- You could fall on an icy sidewalk.
- You could be injured in a robbery attempt.
- You could strain your neck, back or shoulders while lifting packages that weigh too much for you to lift alone.
If you're a temporary employee, it's important to remember that you have the same rights to workers' compensation that your permanent counterparts do.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Amazon drivers say they are pushed to the limit as holiday deliveries reach a frenzy," Natalie Kitroeff, Nov. 30, 2017