Can You Seek Benefits If You Are Paid “Off the Books”?
It’s a fairly common practice across the country—many companies pay workers “under the table,” avoiding responsibility for tax withholding. What happens if you’re working for a company, but not on the payroll, and you suffer a job-related injury? As an employee, you’d have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Do you have to be on the company’s payroll to file a workers’ compensation claim? Are you simply out of luck?
In New Jersey, as in other states, there are only two requirements to qualify for workers’ compensation—you must have been injured and the injury must have occurred on the job. Accordingly, the fact that you were not on the payroll will not automatically disqualify you from collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
A caveat, though—if you are determined to be an independent contractor, you will not be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits from the employer. As a general rule, when evaluating whether you are an independent contractor or an employee, the courts will consider three factors:
- The extent to which the employer controls your behavior—the type of instruction/direction you receive, any type of training you get from the employer, whether you are subject to worker performance reviews or evaluations
- The extent to which the company exercises financial control—Are you reimbursed for expenses? Who stands to make a profit or loss? Are your services available to others? How are you paid and how regularly?
- Your relationship with the employer—Is there a written employment contract? Do you receive any other benefits? How permanent is the relationship? Are the services you provide integral to the business of the company?
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges, including people who have sustained workplace injuries. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.