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PA Workers Compensation: Unpaid Interns and Temporary Workers

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Once of the most common questions we receive is whether or not unpaid interns and temporary workers are covered by Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits. 
 
As we’ve mentioned in the past, every case is different, but in most cases, both unpaid interns and temporary workers are entitled to PA workers’ comp benefits if they are injured on the job. 
 
Unpaid Interns
 
Whether or not you can receive Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits for an injury you received as an intern generally depends on what all was involved with the internship. 
 
If your internship meets any of the following criteria, there is a good chance you could be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits: 
 
1. You perform duties that are very similar to paid employees. In other words, the employer benefits more from you than you do from them. The purpose of an internship is to learn and gain experience, not offer free labor.  
 
2. During your internship, you are taking the place of a former paid employee and perform duties exactly the same or similar to what that person used to do. In other words, you are a free replacement for someone who left the company or was fired. 
 
3. If the purpose of the internship is to train you for a specific open position, you are considered a trainee, not an intern, and are therefore entitled to benefits. 
 
4. The employer never made it clear to you that you are not entitled to wages for your work. 
 
Again, every case is different. If you are injured on the job as an intern, it’s best to contact a competent Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether or not you should pursue a workers’ comp case. 
 
Temporary Workers
 
Temporary workers are also usually covered by Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits. Since temporary workers are paid, the most common question we receive regarding temps is who is responsible for paying their workers’ compensation benefits, and not whether or not they are entitled to them. 
 
If the temporary worker is employed through a staffing agency, the benefits are usually covered by the staffing agency, unless the contract between the staffing agency and the third party company states otherwise. However, this is not something an injured worker needs to worry about. It is information that can be sorted out by an attorney.  
 
However, if a temporary worker is hired without a staffing agency (for example, for an amusement park that is only open during the summer, or for a department store to help during the holiday rush), the responsibility of the workers’ compensation benefits will fall on the shoulders of the company that hired you. 
 
If you live in the Harrisburg, Lancaster, or Chambersburg area and have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits. Contact PAWorkersCompHelpNow at 717-234-2402. 

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