Defense Base Act Attorneys
Civilians Contractors Injured Overseas
How Do Defense Base Act Waivers Work?
Some civilian contractors on military bases overseas have asked our attorneys about DBA “waivers” and if they should worry about them affecting their eligibility for benefits under the Defense Base Act. The good news is that, typically, the vast majority of DBA-covered defense contractor employees are not affected by “waivers.”
In this article the specialized DBA attorneys at Cantrell Green explain what Defense Base Act waivers are, and to whom they may apply.
What is a Defense Base Act Waiver?
The Defense Base Act is the Federal (United States) workers’ compensation law (1941) that extends the “Longshore” benefits to employees working outside of the continental United States under certain circumstances. Note that under the DBA, Alaska and Hawaii are considered to be part of the continental United States.
Under the Defense Base Act (DBA) almost all civilian employees (both US citizens and non-US citizens) who are injured abroad while working under contract by the United States government qualify for workers compensation benefits.
However, there is an exception to this. Section 1(e) of the Defense Base Act states that, “Upon the recommendation of the head of any department or other agency of the United States, the Secretary of Labor, in the exercise of his discretion, may waive the application of this section with respect to any contract, subcontract, or subordinate contract, work location under such contracts, or classification of employees”.
In other words, the U.S. Secretary of Labor can sometimes “waive” (eliminate) the requirement of workers compensation coverage for certain groups of civilian contractors. Fortunately, this is almost never done.
DBA Waivers and U.S. Citizens
There are some limits and conditions to the issuance of a DBA waiver.
There is a condition attached to every DBA waiver that any employees left uncovered by the waiver must receive workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to local workers compensation laws. If this condition is not met, then the waiver becomes “null and void” (cancelled or unenforceable) and the DBA applies to the affected workers.
Additionally, defense base act waivers typically do not apply to any employee who is a U.S. citizen, is hired in the U.S., or is a bona fide resident of the U.S. regardless of nationality.
However, one major exception occurred to this waiver policy in the case of the Guam waiver.
The Guam Defense Base Act Waiver
One of the largest examples of a DBA waiver occurred on May 6, 2020, when the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a waiver covering the application of the Defense Base Act (DBA) in Guam. This waiver was notable because it waived (eliminated) the requirement that Guamanians (who are U.S. citizens), as well as third-country nationals, be covered with workers comp benefits under the DBA for work performed in Guam.
However, effective May 6, 2020 the Guam blanket DBA waiver has been replaced to protect construction workers who are Guamanians. However, DBA coverage for third-country nationals (non US workers from other countries) is still waived as long as they have workers’ comp coverage from their home country or country of hire.
Defense Base Act Attorneys
If you are performing work for a military contractor overseas and you have been injured or been made ill during the course of your employment, you typically are entitled to workers compensation benefits – regardless of citizenship, nationality, place of hire or country where the work is performed.
However, there are always “waivers”, exceptions and cases in which the employer or their insurer will try to wrongfully deny your DBA benefits. For these reasons, it is always wise to discuss your DBA case with an experienced defense base act attorney.
Our highly specialized Defense Base Act attorneys are committed to ensuring that every injured or disabled civilian employee obtains the benefits he or she has earned. We have successfully filed hundreds of Defense Base Act applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in DBA benefits in over four decades of legal service.
Call today, or fill out the short form on the right to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our skilled and experienced Defense Base Act Attorneys.
Free Consultation with a Defense Base Act Attorney: 800-964-8047
Our highly specialized Defense Base Act attorneys have successfully filed hundreds of Defense Base Act applications and appeals – obtaining millions of dollars in DBA benefits in our four decades of legal service.
In our Defense Base Act Blog, our attorneys keep you updated on the latest news and information pertaining to issues affecting civilian contractor employees working overseas and abroad.
Read our articles, then fill out the short form below to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our skilled Defense Base Act Attorneys.
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