Workers’ compensation is insurance that your employer must carry. As with any type of insurance, your employer must pay a premium to secure and keep coverage. If your employer does not sign up for or properly pay for coverage, then it will not have it if you suffer an injury and need to make a claim. The state does not maintain insurance for the system, but it does mandate what employers must carry it.
The good news is that, according to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, it is a legal requirement for all employers who have at least one employee to carry workers’ compensation insurance. For the most part, because you work there, your employer must have this insurance. However, as with any law, there are exceptions.
If you work on a family farm and are a corporate officer and all the other corporate officers are family members by marriage or of at least the fourth degree, then you are exempt from the coverage requirement. If you work for a family farm as an employee, though, you are an employee for workers’ compensation purposes, even if the farm belongs to your family.
Another exception is for ministers or associate ministers. A church may not have to provide coverage if you, as the minister, establish your own insurance as a sole proprietor.
Employers also do not have to provide coverage for independent contractors or subcontractors. You would hold the responsibility for insurance. For example, if you are a subcontractor and you have employees, then you need to provide your employees with coverage.
There are a few more exceptions, but they tend to follow the general rule that if there are no employees or a business is only made up of the owner, there is no legal requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance.