How employment status impacts WCB benefits


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Lacking an employment contract? Then be prepared for WCB to decide whether a worker is temporary or permanent.

A young ironworker loses a limb when a piece of machinery falls from above. His only comfort during the darkest days of life is the knowledge that he’s covered under WCB. But he’s overcome by a wave of shock when the first benefit payment arrives. His temporary employment status entitles him to far less than he was expecting. The young man immediately calls the Board to correct the error, telling his case worker that he was hired as a permanent worker, not a seasonal temp. The case worker expresses her regret, and then breaks the news that his employer considers him seasonal. In the absence of an employment contract to settle the matter, WCB sides with the employer.

A small earthworks contractor reports an incident to WCB. Despite the contractor’s best efforts to keep its seasonal laborers safe, a freak accident causes a severe injury. The family-owned company is barely making ends meet, and then comes a call from a WCB account manager. The disability claim is set to triple their premiums, so says the account manager, because the worker is permanently disabled. But that’s impossible, the employer exclaims, as the worker was a new-hire employed on a seasonal basis. But in the absence of an employment contract to settle the matter, WCB sides with the worker.

Moral of the stories: unless you’d rather WCB decide for itself the status of a worker’s employment, employees and employers alike are well served by putting the terms and conditions of an employment relationship in writing.

For more information on how WCB determines compensation for permanent and non-permanent employees, visit this link.

Call 1-877-572-1324 to speak with our 541 Eagleson Wynd, Edmonton T6M 0Y4 team for free

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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About Me

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training.

Blue Collar Consulting

Blue Collar Consulting is a WCB and disability management firm. The company specializes in rapid and affordable disability solutions that advance current claims, contain the cost of future claims, and get injured workers back on their feet.