Independent Contractors and Michigan Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers' compensation benefits, or benefits that employers are required to provide to employees in the case of injury on the job, cover almost all workers in Michigan. One group of workers that workers' compensation does not cover is independent contractors.

An independent contractor is an individual who is hired by a company to do short- or long-term work under a contract with a definite end date. To be considered an independent contractor, an individual must maintain a business separate from the company that has hired him or her, and also actively render services to other companies or solicit other companies for work. A company that hires an independent contractor is not obligated to pay workers' compensation to that contractor in the event of a workplace injury or illness.

Michigan, Not Employer, Decides Independent Contractor Status for Workers' Compensation

Typically, the state will consider an individual who is contracted to only one company an employee of that company rather than an independent contractor. This means that the hiring company would be responsible for providing workers' compensation benefits to that employee in the event of an injury or illness caused in the workplace.

The state of Michigan requires that employers of three or more workers must provide workers' compensation benefits to employees as long as one of them works at least 35 hours or more a week for 13 weeks or more. The decision to provide workers' compensation is a state matter - not an employer decision - since the state defines what constitutes an independent contractor as well as how benefits are distributed to employees.

It is possible for an independent contractor to purchase his or her own workers' compensation insurance in case he or she is injured while contracting services to another company. Any job has the potential to result in injury or illness, so it is wise to determine whether or not you will be covered by an employer's workers' compensation insurance before you sign a contract.