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Workers' Compensation

California: Residential Employees

Did you know that on January 1, 2017, it became easier to be considered a residential employee?

Most workers’ compensation practitioners are aware that for a residential worker to be considered an “employee” under California’s workers’ compensation laws, there are certain wage and hour requirements. Historically, under Labor Code Section 3352(a)(8), the employee had to be employed for at least 52 hours during the 90 days immediately preceding the date of injury and had to have earned at least $100.00 during that period. The residential employee had to meet both of these requirements before they could be considered an “employee” and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Unbeknownst to many workers’ compensation practitioners is the fact that these requirements changed effective January 1, 2017. Indeed, on August 26, 2016, Assembly Bill 2883 was passed which added language Labor Code Section 3352(a)(8) so that the period of employment needed only be contracted for more than 52 hours and only need to be contracted to be for more than $100.00 in order to be considered an “employee”.

This significant expansion of those residential workers that will now be considered “employees” for purposes of receiving workers’ compensation benefits was highlighted in the recent Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) panel decision of Arambul v. Alejandra Ortiz. In Arambul, the panel of WCAB commissioners highlighted the significant changes made to Labor Code Section 3352(a)(8) and found that since the alleged employee was contracted to work for more than 52 hours of work, he must be considered an “employee”.

In conclusion, if you are a practitioner that is involved in a dispute involving the “employee” status of a person “employed by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling…” (Labor Code Section 3351(d)), you would be well served to pay particular attention to the changes that have made to Labor Code Section 3352(a)(8).

Practitioners should check the subsequent history of any cases before citing to them.

Any information or opinions contained in this commentary are not necessarily endorsed by LexisNexis® or its affiliates.

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