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Glossary Check: The Meaning of ‘Employee’ in Minnesota

19 Apr, 2024 Frank Ferreri

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St. Paul, MN (WorkersCompensation.com) -- A bedrock principle in workers' compensation law is that benefits are may be due when an "employee" is injured on the job. So just who exactly is an employee? Here's how the North Star State defines it.

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"Employee" means any person who performs services for another for hire including the following:

(1) an alien;
(2) a minor;
(3) a sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, firefighter, county highway engineer, and peace officer while engaged in the enforcement of peace or in the pursuit or capture of a person charged with or suspected of crime;
(4) a person requested or commanded to aid an officer in arresting or retaking a person who has escaped from lawful custody, or in executing legal process, in which cases, for purposes of calculating compensation under this chapter, the daily wage of the person shall be the prevailing wage for similar services performed by paid employees;
(5) a county assessor;
(6) an elected or appointed official of the state, or of a county, city, town, school district, or governmental subdivision in the state. An officer of a political subdivision elected or appointed for a regular term of office, or to complete the unexpired portion of a regular term, shall be included only after the governing body of the political subdivision has adopted an ordinance or resolution to that effect;
(7) an executive officer of a corporation;
(8) a voluntary uncompensated worker, other than an inmate, rendering services in state institutions under the commissioners of human services and corrections similar to those of officers and employees of the institutions, and whose services have been accepted or contracted for by the commissioner of human services or corrections as authorized by law. In the event of injury or death of the worker, the daily wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid at the time of the injury or death for similar services in institutions where the services are performed by paid employees;
(9) a voluntary uncompensated worker engaged in emergency management who is:

(i) registered with the state or any political subdivision of it, according to the procedures set forth in the state or political subdivision emergency operations plan; and
(ii) acting under the direction and control of, and within the scope of duties approved by, the state or political subdivision.
The daily wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid at the time of the injury or death for similar services performed by paid employees;

(10) a voluntary uncompensated worker participating in a program established by a local social services agency. In the event of injury or death of the worker, the wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid in the county at the time of the injury or death for similar services performed by paid employees working a normal day and week;
(11) a voluntary uncompensated worker accepted by the commissioner of natural resources who is rendering services as a volunteer. The daily wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services performed by paid employees;
(12) a voluntary uncompensated worker in the building and construction industry who renders services for joint labor-management nonprofit community service projects. The daily wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services performed by paid employees;

(13) a member of the military forces while in state active service. The daily wage of the member for the purpose of calculating compensation under this chapter shall be based on the member's usual earnings in civil life. If there is no evidence of previous occupation or earning, the trier of fact shall consider the member's earnings as a member of the military forces;

(14) a voluntary uncompensated worker, accepted by the director of the Minnesota Historical Society, rendering services as a volunteer, pursuant to chapter 138. The daily wage of the worker, for the purposes of calculating compensation under this chapter, shall be the usual wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services performed by paid employees;

(15) a voluntary uncompensated worker, other than a student, who renders services at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf or the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, and whose services have been accepted or contracted for by the commissioner of education, as authorized by law. In the event of injury or death of the worker, the daily wage of the worker, for the purpose of calculating compensation under this chapter, shall be the usual wage paid at the time of the injury or death for similar services performed in institutions by paid employees;

(16) a voluntary uncompensated worker, other than a resident of the veterans home, who renders services at a Minnesota veterans home, and whose services have been accepted or contracted for by the commissioner of veterans affairs, as authorized by law. In the event of injury or death of the worker, the daily wage of the worker, for the purpose of calculating compensation under this chapter, shall be the usual wage paid at the time of the injury or death for similar services performed in institutions by paid employees;

(17) a worker performing services under section 256B.0659 for a recipient in the home of the recipient or in the community under section 256B.0625, subdivision 19a, who is paid from government funds through a fiscal intermediary under section 256B.0659, subdivision 33. For purposes of maintaining workers' compensation insurance, the employer of the worker is as designated in law by the commissioner of the Department of Human Services, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary;

(18) students enrolled in and regularly attending the Medical School of the University of Minnesota in the graduate school program or the postgraduate program. The students shall not be considered employees for any other purpose. In the event of the student's injury or death, the weekly wage of the student shall be the annualized educational stipend awarded to the student, divided by 52 weeks. The institution in which the student is enrolled shall be considered the "employer" for the limited purpose of determining responsibility for paying benefits;
(19) a faculty member of the University of Minnesota employed for an academic year is also an employee for the period between that academic year and the succeeding academic year if:

(i) the member has a contract or reasonable assurance of a contract from the University of Minnesota for the succeeding academic year; and
(ii) the personal injury for which compensation is sought arises out of and in the course of activities related to the faculty member's employment by the University of Minnesota;

(20) a worker who performs volunteer ambulance driver or attendant services is an employee of the political subdivision, nonprofit hospital, nonprofit corporation, or other entity for which the worker performs the services. The daily wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services performed by paid employees;
(21) a voluntary uncompensated worker, accepted by the commissioner of administration, rendering services as a volunteer at the Department of Administration. In the event of injury or death of the worker, the daily wage of the worker shall be the usual wage paid at the time of the injury or death for similar services performed in institutions by paid employees;
(22) a voluntary uncompensated worker rendering service directly to the Pollution Control Agency. The daily wage of the worker is the usual going wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services if the services are performed by paid employees;
(23) a voluntary uncompensated worker while volunteering services as a first responder or as a member of a law enforcement assistance organization while acting under the supervision and authority of a political subdivision. The daily wage of the worker is the usual going wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services if the services are performed by paid employees;
(24) a voluntary uncompensated member of the civil air patrol rendering service on the request and under the authority of the state or any of its political subdivisions. The daily wage of the member is the usual going wage paid at the time of injury or death for similar services if the services are performed by paid employees; and
(25) a Minnesota Responds Medical Reserve Corps volunteer responding at the request of or engaged in training conducted by the commissioner of health. The daily wage of the volunteer is established in section 145A.06. A person who qualifies under this clause and who may also qualify under another clause of this subdivision shall receive benefits in accordance with this clause.

If it is difficult to determine the daily wage as provided in this subdivision, the trier of fact may determine the wage upon which the compensation is payable.

In Minnesota, "employee" does not include farmers or members of their family who exchange work with other farmers in the same community.


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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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