Montana Legislators Pass Workers Compensation Exemption For Musicians

The state of Montana is on the verge of enacting legislation that would exempt from coverage under its Workers’ Compensation Act a contract musician. On April 29, 2009, HB 598 was passed by the legislature and transmitted to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) for final review. Under current law, musicians are generally considered covered employees of the bar or venue owners that engage them, unless the musicians have applied for and been granted an independent contractor exemption and have paid a bi-annual fee – which many fail to do because they are unaware of this requirement. However, the enactment of HB 598 would simply exclude musicians from the law, allowing them to perform without filing an exemption application or paying any fees, while also exempting bar and venue owners from the legal obligation of providing workers’ compensation insurance for the musicians they engage.

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