Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Volunteer Worker Injured on Church Property Not Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Kansas
State:
Key point 8-07.2. All states have enacted workers' compensation laws to provide benefits to employees who are injured or become ill in the course of their employment. Benefits generally are financed through insurance premiums paid by employers. Churches are subject to workers' compensation laws in most states.

A Kansas court ruled that a volunteer worker who was injured while removing a tree from church property was not an employee of the church and therefore was not eligible for workers' compensation benefits. A church board agreed to cut down two large trees on the church's property that were hanging over a neighbor's property. The church could not afford to pay someone to remove the trees, so a board member rounded up about 15 people to help cut down and remove the trees. Several people brought their own chainsaws to help with the project. One of the volunteers (the "victim") was a board member's son, and the board member asked him if he would use his truck to pull a trailer to haul away the wood. The board selected the day the trees would be removed. The church provided lunch for the workers that day. The board told the victim that he could have the wood since he was hauling it away.

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Posted: December 27, 2016

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