You may already know that workers' compensation insurance is designed to protect employees who are injured in the workplace. But workers' compensation is generally administered differently from state to state—so what about military workers or private contractors who are stationed outside the U.S., where safety codes and protocol may be different? Read on to learn more about Defense Base Act (DBA) workers' compensation insurance and how it can protect you if you're injured or made ill on the job.
What is DBA Workers' Compensation Insurance?
DBA insurance is provided to employees of military contractors or subcontractors who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, working for a U.S. company, but who are located outside the U.S. Federal law requires all private employers who employ individuals on military bases located outside the U.S. to carry workers' compensation insurance. This requirement also extends to any land or property the U.S. uses for military purposes, including training and housing facilities. Unless a worker has a waiver from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), they're required to be covered under a DBA policy, regardless of nationality, age, sex, or a wide range of other criteria.
DBA workers' compensation insurance does not apply to workers once they return to the U.S. For example, if a DBA-covered employee is performing work for a private military contractor in South Korea, his or her DBA workers' compensation policy will lapse once this employee returns to the U.S. and resumes work for this contractor in his or her home state. Under these circumstances, the contractor would need to obtain a state-sponsored or approved workers' compensation policy to kick in once the employee returned stateside.
How Can DBA Workers' Compensation Insurance Protect You?
The U.S. has quite a few federal and state government organizations that protect employees' rights and employee working conditions within the United States—from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to the DOL to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). All companies that operate within the U.S. must abide by these agencies' laws, rules, and regulations, and non-compliance can be punishable with steep fines or, in some cases, even jail time.
But employers who operate outside the U.S. can face a far bigger grey area when it comes to safeguarding employees' rights. While responsible companies will continue to maintain high standards when it comes to on-the-job health and safety, the challenges of trying to maintain safe working conditions outside the U.S. can mean that accidents will happen. By ensuring your employer has DBA workers' compensation insurance, you're guaranteed compensation if you incur medical expenses or miss work due to an on-the-job injury.