Unless you qualify to self-insure, you must have a workers’ compensation policy if you have one or more employees in Idaho. If you don’t insure yourself, you risk carrying the financial burden of a work-related illness or injury for your employees. This includes medical expenses and lost wages. You also risk dealing with hefty fines for not adhering to state workers’ comp laws.
Benefits of Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation benefits both your business and the employee. For example, imagine if someone broke their arm on the job and needed surgery, physical therapy, medication, and time off to heal. If you had to carry the entire financial burden of the broken arm, it could hurt your company.
Not only is having a policy good for your business, but it’s necessary for showing your workers that you care about them. Plus, the employee will have peace of mind knowing that they’re covered if the working conditions compromise their health and financial wellbeing.
What Does it Cover?
While every carrier has its products, most Idaho workers’ compensation policies cover emergency care and other medical expenses, including recovery. Then, to make up for the lost pay, your employees can receive a percentage of their wages in weekly payments or a lump sum. Typically, an employee should file a claim within 60 days of injury, or the policy may not cover them, and they could assume financial responsibility at that point.
While most employers will be required to obtain workers’ comp coverage, there are a few exceptions in Idaho, which include but are not limited to:
- Some agricultural pilots
- Commission-based real estate agents
- Domestic household workers
- Those covered under federal workers’ comp law
- Sole proprietors with no employees or employees who are family members living in the household
If you’re exempt from getting workers’ compensation, you may still want to consider holding a policy. There could still be cases where you have to pay for work-related injuries, and you don’t want to put your business at risk if you can’t afford it.
Who Pays for Coverage?
The employer is responsible for paying the workers’ compensation policy premiums. In addition, you cannot put the responsibility to pay for coverage on your employees. The price and amount of coverage you need depend on the wages paid and the occupational hazards people are subjected to in your line of work.
The penalties for not having the required workers’ comp coverage in Idaho can add up quickly. It can start at around $2 a day per employee or $25 a day. On top of paying fines to the state, you’ll be held liable for all medical and lost wage costs covered under Idaho law with a 10% penalty. In addition, you’ll foot the bill for your employee’s attorney. So, you’d only be increasing the financial and legal risk you put on your business without coverage.
When an Employee Files a Claim
When an employee reports an injury, you must show them how to file a claim and report it to the Idaho Industrial Commission (IIC). If the carrier rejects a claim, the employee can file a complaint to the IIC to start the appeals process.
Keeping track of your employees’ injuries is required. You may need to give insurers access to your claims history, whether you’re renewing an existing policy or applying with a different carrier.
Types of Payouts
Once the employee’s claim is approved, the insurance company should pay for medical treatment, wages from missing work, and disabilities. Different types of disability payments include:
Permanent disability benefits are paid to employees who are permanently disabled due to a work-related injury. To determine the amount paid and how long, the doctor needs to discuss the severity of your worker’s disability with the insurance company.
Temporary Partial Disability
If your employee can return to work, but the doctor sets limitations on the tasks they can perform, they may qualify for temporary partial disability. These payments can cover some of the wages lost from when they were out receiving treatment for their injury.
Temporary Total Disability
If the employee cannot work because of a work-related illness or injury, they may qualify for temporary total disability payments while they recover.
Workers’ compensation in Idaho is required for most employers, but if you feel like you don’t need it, you should contact the IIC to see if you’re exempt or qualify to self-insure. Non-compliance can lead to costly fees, lawsuits, and misdemeanor charges.
Additionally, you can talk with an agent or lawyer to determine the level of coverage you’re required to have and the level of coverage you should get to minimize the risk to your company. It’s best to be safe and seek legal help when you’re unsure, mainly if your workplace contains severe occupational hazards.