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Are Part-Time Employees Eligible for Workers’ Comp?

Posted on October 5, 2022 in

Anyone who has taxes deducted from their paycheck is eligible for workers’ compensation, including part-time employees. However, Tennessee workers’ compensation law does not require all employers to carry workers’ comp insurance. Therefore, if you are a part-time employee needing workers’ comp benefits, it will depend on whether your employer purchased a policy.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage Requirements in Tennessee

Only certain employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee. Those are as follows:


All employers in the construction business or trades (construction service providers) must carry workers’ comp coverage if they have one or more employees unless they are specifically exempted.

Coal Mining Industry

All coal mining employers with one or more employees must have coverage.

Five or More Employees

Any employer with five or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Their options are purchasing a policy from an insurance carrier or qualifying as a self-insured employer with the Department of Commerce and Insurance.

When Are Part Time Employees Not Covered by Workers’ Comp?

Other than employees of companies not required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, the following part-time employees are not covered.

  • Independent Contractors: Independent contractors, consultants, and freelancers are not covered by workers’ comp insurance if they are injured on the job since they are not considered employees.
  • Volunteers: Part-time volunteers provide services or work without pay. Therefore, they are not classified as employees and ineligible for workers’ comp coverage. However, part-time volunteer law enforcement personnel, firefighters, emergency response personnel, and fire responders are typically covered.
  • Interns: Unpaid interns cannot get employee benefits such as workers’ comp benefits.

Generally, people who work for a company and do not get paid will not receive workers’ compensation coverage.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to Part-Time Employees in Tennessee

To receive workers’ comp benefits, an injured or ill part-time employee must file a workers’ compensation claim within one year to recover the following:

Medical Benefits

Payment for emergency care and follow-up appointments, physical therapy, and other services related to the work injury or illness. In Tennessee, there’s no maximum for medical benefits paid out as part of a workers’ comp claim.

Partial Wage Replacement

After a seven-day waiting period (unless the disability lasts 14 days or more), injured or ill part-time employees can begin to receive one of the following:

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) Benefits:When an employee is injured or ill but can still work in a limited role, they can recover TPD benefits to cover the difference between the wages they earn now compared to before. TPD benefits are paid at 66 ⅔% of the difference in wages.
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits: The amount of TTD benefits is usually two-thirds (66 ⅔%) of your average weekly wages earned during the 52 weeks prior to your injury. The maximum period of payments is 400 weeks and the maximum amount payable is $300,800.
    • The weekly payment minimum is $112.80.
    • The weekly maximum is $827.
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits: Part-time employees who are permanently injured but can still perform a job in the future can receive PPD. PPD benefits are more complicated to calculate as they are determined by a physician’s impairment rating, which is then multiplied by 450 (determines how long benefits are paid) and then by 66 ⅔%. Benefits are still subject to the state maximum of $752. A second award can be granted at the end of the compensation period if you are still not making as much money as you could before.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits: Payments for permanently injured employees who cannot work. PPD benefits are 66 ⅔% of their average pre-injury weekly wage, paid until age 65 when eligible for Social Security.