In Minnesota, employers who have employees working out of the state do not have to pay them workers’ compensation for work-related injuries, unless one of three specific exceptions applies. Instead, the employer probably needs to secure workers’ compensation insurance coverage in the states in which the employees work – in addition to following other employment laws in those states. The three exceptions for out-of-state employees are (1) extraterritorial application, (2) temporary out-of-state employment, and (3) out-of-state employment.
- Extraterritorial Application
This exception applies if an employee who regularly works in Minnesota and performs most of his duties here gets injured outside Minnesota. For example, the employee could take a short business trip. The employee must be employed by a Minnesota employer that is required to hold workers’ compensation insurance. In this situation, the employee can receive workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota after reporting the injury. (Minn. Stat. § 176.041, subd. 2.)
- Temporary Out-of-State Employment
This exception applies if an employee is hired in Minnesota by a Minnesota employer, but he takes a temporary assignment outside the state. For example, he may visit the employer’s Wisconsin office for a two-month assignment but plan to return to work in Minnesota after that. He may receive Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits for work-related injuries suffered while in Wisconsin. (Minn. Stat. § 176.041, subd. 3.) Also, if the employee takes a temporary assignment outside the United States, he falls under this exception.
According to the courts, “temporary” means “not of long duration, not permanent, but for a short time.” (Fischer v. Malleable Iron Range Co., 225 N.W.2d 542 (Minn. 1975).) In other words, the employee must not work in the other state for a very long time and must be expected to return to Minnesota in the future. Even regular work assignments in other states could still be temporary for purposes of workers’ compensation.
In order to be recognized as a Minnesota employer, the employer does not have to be organized or incorporated in the state of Minnesota. The major factor involved is whether the operations of the employer have significant activities in the state. If this is the case, then the employer is classified as a Minnesota employer.
A key factor in temporary employment cases is whether the employer directed the activities of the employee and directed his or her wage/salary payments and other benefits from the state of Minnesota or another state. When an employee’s activities are directed and managed from Minnesota, he or she will more likely be eligible for workers’ compensation from the state of Minnesota.
- Out-of-State Employment
This exception applies if an employee who regularly performs the primary duties of his employment outside Minnesota, or who is hired to perform the primary duties of employment outside Minnesota, gets injured in Minnesota while employed by the same employer. To receive benefits, the employee must choose not to receive workers’ compensation benefits available under the laws of the other state where he usually works. (Minn. Stat. § 176.041, subd. 4.)
Do All States Require Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Employers, for the most part, are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in 49 out of 50 states. Texas is the only state that does not generally require companies to carry this insurance, with the exception of a small number of industries. Businesses outside of Texas are required to purchase workers’ comp insurance.
Even in Texas when it is not required, many companies purchase workers’ comp insurance to protect themselves from liability for expenses such as employee lost wages, medical treatment, and ongoing therapy resulting from an on-the-job employee injury.
Businesses in Texas that do not buy workers’ comp insurance must report workplace injuries to the state and inform the state they do not have coverage.
An employee of a business in Texas without workers’ comp insurance who sustains an injury on-the-job at the business has the right to sue his or her employer. In such a case, the employer may not offer an “employee negligence” argument when defending itself in court.
So, does workers’ comp cover out of state injuries on the job? The answer is for the instances described above. An experience workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine eligibility based on the specifics of your case.
Did you get injured while working outside Minnesota for a Minnesota employer? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.