What Jobs are Not Covered by Workers Comp?

Workers’ comp is supposed to be there when you’re hurt or injured while you’re on the job, to protect you from the many different problems that can arise if you are injured, like:

  • Inability to return to work.
  • High medical costs associated with injury.
  • Long term therapeutic or pharmaceutical costs.
  • Loss of ability to perform your livelihood, possibly for life.

Not all professions are covered by workers’ compensation, however. Business owners, federal employees, and part-time domestic workers are just three examples of those who will not get coverage if they are injured while they are at work. Here are a few other professions which cannot be covered by workers’ compensation, along with some explanation of why that’s the case. It’s important to know about these exceptions if you work in any of these fields.


Because they aren’t categorized as employees, volunteer workers aren’t covered under workers’ comp insurance while performing any work for charity, as long as they aren’t paid. There are some volunteer organizations which have special types of insurance for their volunteers that is a substitute for workers’ comp, but those professions usually relate to positions where injury may occur, such as those involved with building structures or dealing with rescued animals.

Those who volunteer for civil service or community service, such as volunteer firefighters, are covered by workers’ compensation. Other non-profit organizations or professions may offer specialized forms of workers’ compensation not covered under the typical, state-provided benefits. If you’re a volunteer, it is best to speak with an administrator about workers’ compensation options, supplements, or alternatives before you make any commitments, especially for volunteer positions where injury can occur, such as those involving labor.


two longshore workers at the waterLongshoremen, like federal employees, are not eligible for traditional workers’ comp. Instead, they receive benefits through their own system of compensation. Longshoremen are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, which covers injuries and diseases which are common for those who navigate the waters as their career. If you belong to this profession and need to speak with an attorney about a workers’ comp claim, make sure that you get legal advice from an expert  familiar with the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Independent Contractors

Because they are not considered to be employees, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation. There are actually some gray areas regarding whether specific contractors are eligible or not. Of all of the professions listed, independent contractors are at the greatest risk of being obstructed from receiving benefits after an injury. Often employers may try to classify an employee as an independent contractor if he or she becomes injured, in an effort to avoid paying compensation benefits.

The nature of the injury, where it occurred, and how it occurred are all relevant as well. If you’re an independent contractor or an employee who has been injured on the job, and have been told that you’re not eligible for workers’ compensation, you should review your case with an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law to find out if that is indeed true. Remember, not every employer is looking out for your best interests when you’ve been injured. Many will either try to deny your benefits, or downplay your role or involvement in company operations. It’s up to you to ensure that your rights are fully protected.