What California parents and teens should know about workers’ comp
Whether your teen has an after-school and weekend job or gets temporary jobs during winter and summer breaks, you probably haven’t thought much about their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured at work or suffer a work-related illness. They likely haven’t given it any thought.
It’s important for California parents and teens to know that minors have the same rights to workers’ comp benefits as adults – even if they’re working part-time or on a temporary basis. Moreover, California requires just about any business that has at least one employee to carry workers’ comp insurance.
Teens deserve a safe and healthy workplace
It’s particularly important for young workers to understand their rights – not just to workers’ comp, but to a safe workplace. That includes proper training and protective equipment. Too often, employers aren’t as concerned with these things with young workers who aren’t there as much or will only be working for a few months. However, all employees need and deserve them.
Young employees (those under 24) have a higher injury rate than those in all age groups 25 and above. This lack of training and protective equipment could be one reason. Younger people are also more likely to take risks and less likely to report injuries unless and until they become serious than their older colleagues.
Teen worker rights
Since at least half of Californians between 16 and 24 have a job, the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC) has published a “Young Worker Bill of Rights” to help them better understand and assert their rights in the workplace – including their right to workers’ compensation.
If your teen has suffered a workplace-related injury or illness, don’t let their employer or anyone else tell them they don’t have a right to seek workers’ comp benefits or that there will be negative consequences if they do. These benefits will help cover the costs of medical care and even some amount of lost wages. If you have questions or issues, having legal guidance can help.