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Workers’ compensation protects both employers and employees. Employers are protected against costly litigation should a worker decide to sue, while employees are provided with no-cost medical care and disability benefits should a work-related accident or illness occur. Penalties are steep for non-compliance with Idaho state law, making it essential that coverage be in place should an accident occur.
In this guide, we’ll break down what the workers’ comp requirements are, including what workers’ comp covers, which employers need to have a policy, and why many businesses purchase this type of insurance.
What are Idaho’s current workers’ compensation requirements for employers?
Employers that have one (1) or more full-time, part-time, seasonal, or occasional employees are required by Idaho law to provide workers’ compensation to all employees. Employers should note that workers’ compensation coverage is required to be in place before the first employee is hired. Out-of-state employers that have an employee who lives and works in Idaho for more than six months must also carry workers’ compensation insurance.
For businesses that use contract workers regularly, they may be considered employees under Idaho’s workers compensation law, so it’s best to check with a compliance rep to ensure that you’re covering all necessary employees. If you’re having trouble determining if a worker is an employee or a contractor, you can consult the Right to Control Guidelines.
In addition, all Idaho employers are required to display a poster provided by their insurance company that indicates that the business has workers’ comp insurance.
Are there any exemptions?
There are exemptions to the workers’ compensation law including the following:
- Household domestic workers
- Casual employment
- Family members if working from a sole proprietor’s home
- Sole proprietors
- Working members of a partnership or limited liability company
- Corporate officers
- Real estate brokers and salespeople
- Pilots of agricultural spraying or dusting
- Volunteer ski patrollers
- Athletic officials at secondary schools
Though these positions are exempt from coverage, employers have the option to cover them if they wish.
What does workers’ compensation cover?
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to any worker that may experience a work-related accident or injury, illness, or occupational exposure to hazardous materials. Specifically, Idaho workers’ compensation covers the following:
- Any accident or injury that occurs on the job
- Repetitive injuries from ongoing stress
- Illness caused by harmful substances
- Ancillary services such as physical or occupational therapy
- Partial disability benefits based on current wage and average weekly state wage
- Total disability benefits based on current wage and average weekly state wage
- Funeral costs
- Survivor benefits for spouse and dependents
Though medical benefits are available immediately, those applying for partial or full disability have a five-day waiting period until benefits become available.
How can an Idaho business purchase workers’ compensation insurance?
There are several ways that Idaho businesses can purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
- Private insurance – Idaho has more than 300 insurance companies authorized by the state to offer workers’ compensation insurance.
- State insurance fund – The State Insurance Fund works with the state to provide workers’ comp insurance to businesses.
- Assigned risk pool – Businesses unable to obtain private insurance or coverage through the State Insurance Fund can apply for coverage from the assigned risk pool.
- Self-insurance – Idaho also offers a self-insurance option to larger companies that can meet specific financial requirements, with the Idaho Industrial Commission granting final approval.
The cost of the insurance is based on company payroll and will vary according to the type of work performed by the business.
What are the fines for not having workers’ compensation insurance?
If an employee is injured on the job and your business does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can be held personally liable for any medical expenses including loss of wages. In addition, any company operating without workers’ compensation in place can be fined $2.00 per day per employee or $25 per day, whichever is higher. Your business may also be subject to a lawsuit that can prohibit you from operating your business until the proper coverage is in place.
What happens when an employee is injured?
An employee is responsible for notifying their supervisor or human resources as soon as possible. Reporting is required and is not dependent on the severity of the injury. There are three forms available to fill out, with two required, and a third optional depending on whether there were witnesses to the incident.
- Supervisor incident report – The supervisor incident report is used to report any accidents, injuries, or illnesses.
- First report of injury or illness – The first report of injury or illness (FROI) must be completed if an employee requires or seeks medical treatment. Human resources must complete the form and send it to the State Insurance Fund for processing.
- Injury or incident witness Ssatement – This form is only required when there are witnesses to the accident or injury. If there are multiple witnesses, each witness will need to complete this form.
Can employees choose their own physician when treated for a work-related injury?
Idaho uses a preferred/designated medical provider list that employees must use when seeking treatment, with the exception of emergency care. If emergency care is received, any subsequent follow-up care must be provided by a designated physician. If an employee seeks follow-up care elsewhere, they may be responsible for any costs associated with the treatment.
More Idaho resources for employers
For more information on Idaho’s workers’ compensation requirements, contact the Idaho Industrial Commission at 208-334-6000. Below is a list of additional resources that may be helpful for Idaho businesses.
Why workers’ compensation is a must for Idaho employers
Having a workers’ compensation policy in place is required before you hire your first employee. On the one hand, compliance with Idaho workers’ comp laws can provide you with peace of mind that your employees will be taken care of should an injury occur. Furthermore, it protects you from any legal issues that may arise from a workplace accident or illness. If you have questions about obtaining Idaho workers’ compensation insurance, our team is here to help.
Please note all material in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute tax, benefits or legal advice. You should always contact a qualified tax, legal or financial professional, in your area for comprehensive tax or legal advice.