If you’re that parent of a teen who works part-time after school and on weekends or maybe full-time during summer and other school breaks, you might not have given much thought to what would happen if they suffered an injury or medical condition due to their work. Teens and young adult workers, however, are among those most likely to be injured in the workplace for a host of reasons – inexperience, lack of training and fearlessness among them.
If your teen is injured seriously enough to require medical treatment and maybe some time off work, they are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits as their older co-workers. It’s important for you – and them – to understand their rights.
What does the law say?
Under Minnesota law, most private employers are required to either carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees or obtain authorization to “self-insure” for workers’ comp. The law states that workers’ comp benefits must be available to “any individual who performs services for another, for hire, including minors, part-time workers and workers who are not citizens.” The primary exception is for farm work.
Employees whose employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance have the right to seek these benefits, which include coverage for medical treatment, partial coverage of wage loss and more, without fear of retaliation. That means your teen’s employer can’t fire them or take other negative action simply because they’ve submitted a workers’ comp claim.
Another important thing to know about workers’ compensation is that in most cases, workers are entitled to get benefits no matter how the injury or illness occurred – even if they were at fault. The primary exceptions are if an employee was injured because they were impaired by alcohol and/or drugs or if they intentionally harmed themselves.
If your teen has suffered a work-related injury or illness, be sure they understand their rights. Unfortunately, some employers count on their young workers not to know or try to assert those rights. It can help to have legal guidance to help ensure that your child gets the benefits they’re provided under the law.