Homeowners beware!: you may need WorksafeBC coverage

Posted on: January 25th, 2012 by Victoria Comments

Attention Homeowners!

When you hire someone to work in your home for your personal or domestic needs, you are considered a residential employer.  You may need to register for WorksafeBC insurance coverage whether you hire the worker on a full-time, part-time or casual basis.

For example if you hire:

  • Nannies, companions, or other personal caregivers
  • Domestic workers such as household cleaners
  • Construction or repair workers or contractors
  • Gardeners or landscapers

You do not need to register if you hire a person:

  • For an average of less than eight working hours per week
  • For a specific job to be completed in less than 24 working hours. In determining how long a job takes, it is the total person-hours for the job that is relevant. For example, if three workers work for nine hours each, WorkSafeBC considers that job to be for a period of 27 hours.
  • To care for children before and after school for an average of less than 15 hours per week
  • Through an agency registered with WorkSafeBC, where you pay the agency directly
  • Who is independently registered with WorkSafeBC

Responsibilities of homeowners

Homeowners and B.C. residents who hire workers cannot be sued for the costs of a work-related injury or disease. If a worker is injured in your home while on the job, WorkSafeBC pays for the worker’s entire medical and wage-loss costs.

In return for this protection, you are expected to:

  • Register with WorkSafeBC
  • Pay employer premiums
  • Provide a safe and healthy work environment

Registration guarantees protection

The law requires WorkSafeBC to compensate injured workers – even when employers have not registered with WorkSafeBC. If a homeowner does not register with WorkSafeBC and pay premiums when required, the results could be costly. WorkSafeBC may charge the homeowner for all compensation costs and unpaid premiums.

Protect yourself – Check the registration status of contractors

When you hire people to work in or around your home, always ask them whether they carry their own coverage. If they do, ask for their WorkSafeBC account numbers. Double-check their information by requesting a clearance letter  from WorkSafeBC before they begin working for you and before you make a final payment. A clearance letter gives you assurance that you won’t be held responsible for someone else’s payments to WorkSafeBC.

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