How long do I have to be employed to be eligible for workers’ compensation?

In Rhode Island, all workers who are classified as non-exempt employees are entitled to workers’ compensation medical and wage loss benefits. If you are covered under the law, you qualify for benefits even if you are injured on the first day of the job. However, if you’re employed under another worker classification, it may affect whether you are covered under Rhode Island Workers' Compensation laws. Workers' comp in Rhode Island

Employees Exempt From Rhode Island Workers' Comp

To qualify for Rhode Island workers’ compensation benefits, you don’t need to be employed for any specific length of time, be a United States citizen, or be properly documented to work in the U.S. However, you do have to qualify as a covered employee.

Employees who may not be covered under workers’ compensation include:

  • Independent contractors or workers who are performing certain contracted tasks or do not meet the definition of an employee
  • Agriculture employees, including farmers, nursery operators, or farm laborers whose employers do not employ 25 or more farm laborers or agricultural employees for at least 13 consecutive weeks
  • Domestic service employees such as babysitters, housekeepers, or nannies
  • Any licensed real estate broker or salesperson whose payment is earned through a salary or commission (rather than payment for the number of hours worked)

In some cases, covered employees may be told that they are exempt from workers’ compensation benefits when this is not the case. For example, large scale agricultural employees (who work for a person or company with 25 or more workers) who receive pay for growing or harvesting fruit and vegetable crops, working in orchards, harvesting lumber, participating in dairy farming, or raising livestock may be eligible for benefits. The best way to determine eligibility is to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

If you have suffered a work injury, the legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can help. Simply fill out the online contact form on this page, or call us to set up a consultation with us.