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Will working two jobs put workers’ compensation at risk?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Working two jobs at the same time is a reality for many people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 13 million workers have more than one job.

Even though it is common to hold two – or more – jobs, there are a few matters Maryland workers must be aware of when it comes to the risks they face as well as their entitlements to workers’ compensation benefits.

Two critical things to note if you work multiple jobs

There are many reasons individuals might hold two jobs, whether they are based on necessity or want. And, it is important to note that there is nothing wrong with working more than one job.

Even so, there are two matters that workers must understand in these situations:

  1. Obtaining benefits can be complex: While working multiple jobs increases the risk of suffering a work injury, it also complicates workers’ entitlements to out-of-work benefits. The primary issue is that the worker’s protections under the law will only extend to one employer – where the work injury occurred.
    1. A worker is not entitled to temporary total disability benefits if they are placed out of work from one job, but are still able to work their second job.
    2. Although there is an argument to be made that a worker who works a second job may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits if they cannot return to work for the first job, there is still room for dispute by the Employer/Insurer.
    3. Additionally, Worker’s Compensation protections do not extend to the other employer. For example, an employer cannot terminate a worker for reporting an injury they suffered on the job or filing a workers’ compensation claim. The same protections do not necessarily extend in terms of the other job the worker holds.
  2. They face a higher risk of injury: A 2014 study reported that multiple jobholders have an increased risk of suffering injuries both on the job and outside of work. This is unsurprising. After all, working two jobs can often leave workers fatigued and even put them at risk of seriously overexerting themselves, especially if they have shifts for both jobs in one day.

And three things workers must do after an injury

In the event that a multiple job holder does suffer a work-related injury, they must ensure that they:

  • Inform their treating doctors of the multiple occupations and the physical requirements of each job.
  • Inform both employers – and their workers’ compensation attorney – about the other job.
  • Discuss with counsel the nature of any medical restrictions and the implications of returning to work with another employer during that time.

Failing to take these steps could put one’s workers’ compensation benefits at risk.

Holding two jobs does not mean that injured workers cannot seek the benefits they deserve or that they will automatically lose one job if they suffer an injury in the other; however, as outlined above the situations are very fact specific and can be complicated. Therefore, it is critical for workers to be aware of these issues and contact an experienced attorney in this area.

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