IMPORTANT!! IF YOU ARE HURT ON THE JOB:
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE
If you are hurt while working, while traveling to work, or while in the labor camp, you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This is an insurance program your employer must provide for you under your contract.
The insurance pays your medical bills and some of your lost wages if you cannot work. If you are injured:
- Go to a doctor right away. Tell the doctor that you were injured or got sick at work. You have the right to speak to the doctor alone.
- Tell your boss right away. You must do this in order to be covered by the insurance. Once your boss knows what happened, it is illegal for the boss to try to stop you from getting your workers’ compensation benefits.
- Follow doctor's instructions. Such as: see specialists, return for follow up visits, attend physical therapy treatments. Do not work if the doctor has said not to, and follow limits on activities. If you don't understand ask your doctor to explain.
- Keep copies of your medical records. Make sure that you know the names of doctors you see or hospitals you go to, and keep copies of all bills and papers, both in the United States and in your home country.
- Ask for help. If you want one of our offices to help you, we are available. It is better to call us before you go home but you are always free to call us from home as well.
- When you arrive home continue to seek medical care if needed. If you are from Jamaica, your government has procedures in place to help you.
You should be able to continue to receive benefits and treatment even after you return home. It can be harder to get benefits and medical care when you are home, but a lawyer may be able to help you. If you are injured and return home before you are well or before you receive all of your benefits, you can call one of our offices for help.
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO FREE HOUSING IN GOOD CONDITION
Your boss must give you free housing in the labor camp. The person in charge of the labor camp is responsible for making sure that the housing meets health standards, is inspected, and has a government-issued permit.
There are many federal and state labor camp requirements, including the following:
- Working smoke detectores and fire extinguishers.
- The flooring in the labor camp must be in good condition.
- The windows must be able to open; and there must be screens.
- During cold weather there must be adequate heatingn equipment.
- If there is no commissary, access to stove and food storage.
- Each worker must be provided with their own bed, at least 12 inches off the floor, and there should be 36 inches (3 feet) between each bed.
- An adequate water supply must be provided so workers can drink, cook and bathe in hot water, and do their laundry at the labor camp, as well as hot water for bathing.
- Toilet rooms should be in sanitary condition. There should be lights that work at all hours. All waste water must drain properly through a septic or sewer system.
- Effective measures must be taken to prevent infestation by insects and other animal pests.
There are more requirements that are not listed here.
The rules and responsibilities of living in the camp should be posted where everyone can see them. You may call us for more information.
EXTENSIONS OF AN H-2A VISA
If your boss wants to extend the amount of time you are working in the United States, your boss must request permission from U.S. Immigration before your visa expires. If the extension is approved, then your boss must give you a copy of the extension.
If you and your boss do not follow these rules, and you stay in the U.S. longer tna eyour visa allows, you may be denied a future visa to come to the United States. Do not stay longer than your visa allows. You may call one of our offices if you have questions.
DO YOU NEED TO RETURN HOME BECAUSE OF A FAMILY EMERGENCY?
Some contract workers need to return home because of a family emergency. You always have the right to leave the U.S. early. However, your H-2A visa allows only one entry into the United States.
If you want to return home and then come back during the same season, Immigration needs to approve your trip before you leave. Getting immigration approval is a formal process that could take some time. Your boss must agree that you can miss work and you would need to buy a round trip plane ticket. The process is not easy and you need the help of a lawyer.
If you leave the United States without following the rules, you may never be able to come back. You may call one of our offices if you have questions.