Does workers’ comp cover undocumented workers?
Workers Compensation - April 21, 2022
When you’re working hard to support your family, the last thing you want is an on-the-job injury. You may be out of work for weeks while facing a pile of medical bills.
If you’re an undocumented worker living and working in Illinois and were injured on the job, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical bills and some of your lost earnings.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is here to help. Read on to learn more.
What the law says
Illinois law regarding undocumented workers
Under Illinois law 920 ILCS 305, an “employee” is defined as “every person in the service of the State,” as well as “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire.”
The fact that all employees are treated equally, whether a citizen or not, is an important element of the workers’ compensation system in Illinois. It protects all individuals who work in the state.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a national law that provides all workers on the market with equal protections.
All workers are meant to have access to work without consideration of certain protected statuses, like gender, sexual identity, or race. The purpose of the FLSA is to protect workers in the United States from exploitation, and the FLSA does not make an exception for undocumented immigrants.
Therefore, undocumented workers are entitled to the same protections as American citizens.
The primary protections of the FLSA are:
- The federal minimum wage – Minimum wage laws ensure that workers in the United States are paid a minimum amount of money for their time. At the moment, the FLSA minimum wage is $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees, while the minimum wage under Illinois law is $13 per hour.
- Overtime pay – The second key element of the FLSA is the requirement that any employee who works more than 40 hours per workweek must receive overtime. Overtime pay may not be less than 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay.
Some federal laws leave room for interpretation by the states. In Illinois, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of undocumented immigrant workers to benefits through workers’ compensation.
The program is meant to provide you and your family support while you recover from your injuries after the on-the-job accident.
Undocumented workers can obtain benefits
Illinois workers who have been injured on the job and meet the qualifications for workers’ compensation are entitled to collect, regardless of documented or undocumented status.
Knowing your rights is important in such a situation, as employers are not always honest when it comes to taking care of their employees.
When you have been injured, you will generally be collecting your damages from the workers’ compensation insurance company of your employer. Submitting your claim and ensuring that your employer completes their portion and submits it also quickly, will determine how fast your claim is reviewed.
The insurance company will try to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. Working with an attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you collect the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Hurt on the job? Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates offers a free initial consultation to determine if your case fits with our firm, and if we take your case, you pay nothing out-of-pocket, ever.
Don’t let your immigration status keep you from the compensation you deserve. A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is standing by to consult on your case. Call (800) 985-1819 now to learn more.