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Travel Nurse Trend: Risks Of Misclassification For Maryland Hospital Workers


There is no doubt that there have been some disruptions in the area of health care over the last few years. Some of these factors have spurred a significant increase in the use of travel nurses in Maryland hospitals. Statistics and trends indicate that more nursing professionals are on the move because of opportunities created by COVID, as well as general nurse shortages that existed even before the pandemic. Nurses meet demand where the need exists, and the financial perks are extremely rewarding. The pay is attractive, and many travel nurses appreciate the flexibility and opportunity to experience new cities.

However, there can be important questions about how travel nurses are treated for purposes of employment. When signing a contract with a hospital, agency, or other organization, it may not be entirely clear whether you are an employee or independent contractor. This scenario can lead to serious problems with workers’ compensation if you were injured. A Maryland hospital worker injury can explain the consequences of misclassification, though an overview is also helpful.

How Misclassification Affects Workers’ Compensation 

When an employer hires someone as an employee, there are numerous requirements regarding taxes, payroll, unemployment insurance, and many other regulations. One important factor for travel nurses and other hospital workers is workers’ comp: In Maryland, a company is only required to carry workers’ comp insurance for employees.

By treating a travel nurse as an independent contractor, the organization saves itself money on workers’ comp premiums – a significant incentive to misclassify workers. The implications for the hospital worker are severe: If you are hurt in a workplace accident, you are not a covered employee who is entitled to workers’ comp benefits.

Still, the details on misclassification may vary according to the company you contract with as a travel nurse. You might have a direct agreement with the hospital, though many nursing professionals work through agencies.

What to do if You Suspect Misclassification 

The matter of employee versus independent contractor is not as simple as looking at your W-2 or 1099. Your status depends upon the details of your job tasks, how you are managed at work, and many other factors.

If you have concerns about misclassification, there are some points to note and questions to ask.

  • Nurses working under a direct contract with a hospital are probably employees when the facility dictates hours and manages work-related tasks.
  • If you work through an agency, there may be an employer-employee relationship when the company directs your work tasks.
  • Those individuals who are clearly independent contractors should make legal arrangements to be considered self-employed. You would pay workers’ comp for yourself. Note that some hospitals and agencies may require you to procure your own workers’ comp policy as part of the contract. 

Contact a Maryland Hospital Worker Injury Attorney to Discuss

Misclassification of travel nurses harms your rights when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits, but there are other consequences as well. For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC. We are happy to schedule a no-cost consultation with a skilled workers’ comp lawyer.


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