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Who is covered by New York workers’ compensation laws?

Workers’ compensation in New York has recently become a very hot issue.  With the recent New York Times investigation of the workers’ comp board and related compensation issues ranging from excessive wait times to needed reforms, it seems these days there are more questions than answers.

Despite all the controversy, some NY state workers just want to know if they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.  Being injured on the job is no joke: not only to injured workers face time off of work – which is often unpaid – but they also face medical bills and the prospect of future lost earnings.

The good news is that nearly all employers in New York must provide workers’ comp coverage for their employees.  The bad news is that not all of them follow the law, but those businesses are still in the minority.

Employers are required to post notice of coverage in their places of business, and must provide coverage for the following types of workers:

  1. All workers employed by for-profit employers.  This includes part-time workers, borrowed workers, leased workers, family members and volunteers.
  2. Workers performing legally defined “hazardous” work for counties and municipalities.
  3. Public school teachers and public school aides (excluding teachers and aides employed by New York City).
  4. State of New York employees.
  5. Some State of New York volunteer workers
  6. Domestic workers (including sitters and companions) performing forty or more hours of work per week for the same employer.
  7. Live in maids.
  8. Farm workers, if their employer paid $1,200 or more for farm labor the previous year.
  9. Any other worker determined by the Workers’ Comp Board to be an employee and not specifically excluded by law.
  10. Corporate officers, if the corporation has more than two officers or two stockholders.
  11. Officers of one or two person corporations, if there are other workers in employment.  However, these officers may chose to exclude themselves from workers’ comp coverage.
  12. Most paid workers at non-profit organizations.


Note: Volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers receive benefits for duty-related death or injury under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law and Volunteer Ambulance Workers’ Benefit Law.


Have a question about an injury you suffered on the job in New York State?  Don’t wait to become a victim of the difficult and sometimes adversarial workers’ comp system.  Please contact the experienced workers’ compensation claim lawyers at Markhoff & Mittman to discuss your situation and find out how we can help.