Workers’ Compensation: The Basics
Workers' compensation insurance (sometimes called workers’ comp, workman’s compensation insurance, or workman's comp) covers your employees’ medical bills and lost wages if they suffer an injury from job-related duties.
What it covers. Workers’ compensation insurance covers and pays for medical care, pharmaceutical, healthcare and rehabilitation costs of employees’ work-related injuries or illnesses, as well as a portion of the worker’s salary while out of work. It’s important to note that workers’ comp coverage is not a substitute for health or medical insurance, because it covers only work-related employee injuries or illnesses.
Why you need it. In three words: It’s the law. Workers’ compensation insurance is a legal requirement in most states. If you have one or more employees, you’ve got to buy it. Period. Failure to purchase coverage when it is required can result in severe penalties, ranging from significant fines to possible prison terms to STOP WORK orders. That said -- it’s the right thing to do, particularly if the work your company does involves physical labor of any kind. It can help an employee recover from work-related illness and may be able to help them support themselves and their family as well.
What it costs. Workers’ compensation insurance rates and premiums can vary by state, and they’re based on several variables, including your industry, the number of employees you have, and your company’s safety record. New products allow you to pay workers' compensation premiums based on your actual payroll. This lets you avoid a large down payment so you can better manage cash flow. Options include self-reporting payroll or having premiums billed automatically through a third-party payroll system.