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Temporary agricultural workers: no workers comp coverage?


The farm guest worker program expansion as planned by the Senate immigration reform bill will leave many of these workers without workers comp coverage.

The International Association of industrial Boards and Commissions (IAIABC) reports the following (from Title 2 subtitle B, chptr 2 section 218A e4c of the Senate bill):

“U.S. Senate Bill 744 includes the development of a nonimmigrant agricultural program to allow non-U.S. workers to perform services or labor in agricultural employment for a temporary period. The establishment of this program requires employers to either provide State workers’ compensation benefits or other insurance that provides “benefits at least equal to those provided under and pursuant to the State workers’ compensation law for comparable employment.”

The nonimmigrant agricultural worker program is defined in Chapter 2 of Senate Bill 744, otherwise known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act introduced by Senator Charles Schumer.”

Many states have exclusions from workers comp. They date back from the past, and they are largely indefensible in this age. The language of the bill says that these exclusions will be honored by the new law.

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