Changes Coming in Workers’ Compensation Coverage For Student Internships – HB 283
Shawn Bubb CPA, CIC, CSRM, MTSBA/MSGIA Director of Insurance Services
Every legislation session brings adjustments to multiple aspects of state law, and this session is no exception. One such change in HB 283 will adjust the way that student interns working in “non-paid” learning opportunities with local businesses can be covered for workers’ compensation.
By providing relevant and meaningful work experiences, these opportunities enable CTE students to build pathways into careers in the trades and in multiple professional industries. The bill sponsor for HB 283 sought to increase those opportunities by creating an additional option that provides this important form of coverage to unpaid student interns.
The coverage treatment for student interns who are paid by their employers would be a simple employee/employer relationship, with the workers’ compensation coverage coming from the employer. All WC benefits under the law would be paid by the carrier for the employer, and their policy would thus reflect any experience from claims incurred by student interns; notably, as part of the bill, the employer also receives the exclusive remedy protections afforded by the workers’ compensation act laws.
Under the recently passed bill, the business and the school district will need to sign a written agreement affirming which entity will provide the workers’ compensation coverage for the student internship. This coverage can take one of three forms:
- The business pays the student intern and covers him/her on the business’s WC policy as a regular employee of the business; or
- The business signs a written agreement with the school district that affirms that the student internship is a non-paid position and that the business is electing to provide coverage for the non-paid student intern using a volunteer endorsement on the business’s workers’ compensation policy; or
- The school district signs a written agreement with the local business affirming that the student internship is a non-paid position and that the school district is electing to provide coverage using a volunteer endorsement under the districts’ workers’ compensation coverage for the non-paid student intern. In this case, the school district WC provider pays all the WC benefits under the law; their coverage plan would reflect any experience from claims incurred by student interns, and the school district would receive the exclusive remedy protections afforded by the workers’ compensation act laws.
In any of the three scenarios above, both the district and the employer will be assured that a) the type of work the student is doing complies with child labor laws, b) adequate workplace safety training and safety equipment are provided to the student intern, and, c) both entities have ensured the general working environment is safe for the student intern.
MTSBA has developed a template agreement for MTSBA members to use and adapt as they see fit for this purpose. Click here for the Work-Based Learning Affiliation Agreement
This new law carries an effective date of July 1, 2021. District staff responsible for the management of CTE and other student internship opportunities will want to begin their reviews of this form with business partners they plan to work with for the coming school year for their students.
Have a great summer, and if MSGIA can assist you with any workers’ compensation coverage questions related to student internship programs, please reach out – we are here to help.
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