Even as the job market evolves, people still need household employees. Parents working from home will need help taking care of little ones to avoid disruptions, cleaning the house may otherwise become a rare occurrence, and don’t forget about lawn care. But household employees are susceptible to getting injured on the job, even if they do not have a typical work environment. If you experienced a workplace injury, even as a private household employee, talk to the Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald, & Friedman in Newark, Wilmington, and Seaford today.
Although the average number of private household employees decreased somewhat drastically in 2020, they have stayed pretty consistent ever since. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there have been an average of 656,000 private household employees for the past three years across the country. And just like at any other job, the risk of getting injured is still likely—especially for those playing more of an active role. Luckily, the state of Delaware protects these types of employees by requiring their employers to get workers’ compensation coverage if they meet certain criteria.
Who is considered a “household employee?”
A private household employee is not just anyone that works inside someone else’s house. It encompasses anyone who works directly for the individual or family of a household. This can include:
- Nannies, babysitters, or au pairs
- Senior caretakers
- Personal assistants
However, it is important to note that those who are employed by companies are different even if they do these same jobs. For example, let’s say a housekeeper gets hired by a company, then a family hires that company to have someone come clean their house. The person cleaning the house is actually employed by the company and not the individual family whose house they clean. But in instances where the family directly hires a housekeeper who works for themselves and not a company, then the family is their employer and they are considered to be a private household employee.
Delaware requires household employers to have workers’ compensation coverage
So long as a private household employee earns $750 or more in a three-month period, the state of Delaware requires their employer to have workers’ compensation coverage. This type of “no-fault” coverage protects the employer and gives the employee benefits if they get injured or sick on the job. Workers’ compensation in Delaware can help with things like:
- Costs of medical treatment – This includes ambulance rides, emergency room visits, X-rays, and even prescription medication.
- Costs related to ongoing care – If an employee was hurt badly, they may need frequent doctors visits for checkups or physical therapy to get back to normal again.
- Lost wages – Whether the employee is out for days or weeks, workers’ comp will help cover the cost of what they would have been paid if they worked through their injury. This alleviates a huge financial burden for them.
- Funeral costs – In the event that the employee actually passes away due to a workplace injury, this will help cover funeral arrangements and other benefits for their beneficiaries.
Filing a worker’s compensation claim in Delaware cannot get you fired, demoted, or punished in any way by your employer. So if you are injured on the job, don’t fear: you have the right to file a claim.
What kinds of injuries can household employees sustain?
Living an active lifestyle can make anyone more susceptible to injury, and those who are “on the go” for their job are no exception. Regardless of what type of work they may do, some of the most common injuries private household employees can sustain are:
- Sprains or fractures – If someone’s job is to look after little kids all day, they may find themselves running around and chasing after them. It is not unlikely that they may sprain an ankle or break an arm in the process.
- Slips, trips, and falls – Broken tiles, slipping rugs, uneven steps – any of these can lead to a fall. Employees can also fall outside on uneven walkways or laws, or while chasing children in a game of tag.
- Muscle strains – Those who care for seniors could potentially throw their back out while trying to lift their patient or help them move around the house.
- Burns – Between chemical and heat, burns are more common than you’d think. They also can happen to anyone whether they are cooking, cleaning, or even playing outside.
- Concussions – Head injuries typically will happen alongside another injury, like if a person slipped or fell. Concussions can vary from mild to severe, meaning the length of recovery and time off of work to heal can greatly vary as well.
What happens if my employer does not report my injury?
Your employer is required by law to report any workplace-related injury as soon as they are made aware of it, but they must report it within 10 days. If they do not, then they will be fined between $100 and $250 for each offense. If your employer simply does not obtain workers’ compensation coverage in Delaware, they are also subject to fines and penalties. The fines can add up to three times the amount that would have been paid in a yearly insurance premium.
Although it is required for all employers to have a workers’ compensation policy, dealing with insurance companies is not always easy—and you should not have to do it alone. The attorneys at Silverman, McDonald, & Friedman can help you with your case. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers will handle the negotiations, claim process, and any insurance appeals that may come up. You deserve to be accurately compensated for all of your pain and suffering and should not have to worry about being out of work in order to recover. To discuss your personalized household employee workers’ compensation case, call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.