Glossary Check: Ala. Employer, Employee, Wages

27 Sep, 2022 Frank Ferreri


Birmingham, AL ( -- Recently, Alabama made some updates to its definitions under workers' compensation law. That provides an opportunity to check in on how the Yellowhammer State defines important terms, like employer, employee, and wages.


In Alabama, ery person who employs another to perform a service for hire and pays wages directly to the person is an employer. The term includes a service company for a self-insurer or any person, corporation, copartnership, or association, or group thereof, and, if the employer is insured, shall include her insurer, the insurer being entitled to the employer's rights, immunities, and remedies. The inclusion of an employer's insurer within the term shall not provide the insurer with immunity from liability to an injured employee, or her dependent in the case of death to whom the insurer would otherwise be subject to liability. In no event shall a common carrier by motor vehicle operating pursuant to a certificate of public convenience and necessity be deemed the "employer" of a leased-operator or owner-operator of a motor vehicle or vehicles under contract to the common carrier. A marketplace platform shall not be considered to be an employer for purposes of this chapter.


The terms employee and worker are used interchangeably in Alabama. The terms include the plural and all ages and both sexes. The terms include every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, including aliens, also including minors who are legally permitted to work under the laws of this state, and also including all employees of Tannehill Furnace and Foundry Commission. Any reference to a "worker" or "employee" shall include, if the worker or employee is dead, her dependent, if the context so requires. A marketplace contractor shall not be considered to be an employee for workers' compensation purposes.

Wages or Weekly Wages

The terms shall in all cases be construed to mean "average weekly earnings," based on those earnings subject to federal income taxation and reportable on the federal W-2 tax form, which shall include voluntary contributions made by the employee to a tax-qualified retirement program, voluntary contributions to a Section 125 cafeteria program, and fringe benefits as defined herein. Average weekly earnings shall not include fringe benefits if and only if the employer continues the benefits during the period of time for which compensation is paid. "Fringe benefits" shall mean only the employer's portion of health, life, and disability insurance premiums.

Forms, email updates, legal, regulatory, and compliance information from Alabama and 52 other jurisdictions across the U.S. can be found on

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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