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Updated: June 13, 2024

A guide to Kansas workers' compensation insurance to protect both employers and employees

Published By:

Jon Davis

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Workers’ compensation insurance is must-have coverage for most Kansas employers, but keeping track of the requirements can be time-consuming. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of who needs to obtain coverage, what exceptions exist, and where businesses can get a workers’ compensation policy.

How does workers’ compensation work safeguard employees and businesses in Kansas?

First and foremost, workers’ compensation helps protect both businesses and their employees from financial loss if an employee gets hurt while on the job or is unable to perform their job because of a work-related illness. In most cases, this type of insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs for employees who are injured or become ill while on the job. On the other hand, employers can rest assured with coverage, as it generally protects them from lawsuits filed by employees related to work-related injuries or illnesses. In addition, workers’ compensation insurance can also cover the cost of any legal fees associated with an injured employee suing you.

 

Next, let’s find out which employers need to have a policy.

Do all employers in Kansas have to have workers’ comp coverage?

In the state of Kansas, almost all employers (with limited exceptions) must provide workers compensation insurance coverage for employees. This includes family members, part- and full-time workers, and leased employees.

 

Are there any exceptions where employers may opt out of offering coverage?

There can be some exceptions to the rules when it comes to worker’s comp coverage, per the Kansas Department of Labor. Some circumstances that might be considered are:

  • Employers “in certain agricultural pursuits” in the state
  • Employers with a gross annual payroll of less than $20,000

 

Realtors working as independent contractors, firefighters belonging to a relief association that has waived coverage, and vehicle operators or freight truckers who have their own occupational accident insurance.

  • Volunteer directors, officers, or trustees of a nonprofit organization
  • Corporate employees owning 10 percent or more of stock.
  • Individuals, proprietors, or partnerships
  • Employers seeking coverage for volunteers and other non-covered workers

 

If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll.

What does workers’ comp typically cover for employees?

There’s several types of incidents that have the potential to be sustained on the job, which a workers’ compensation policy can cover. According to the state’s guide, these include:

 

Medical treatment

If an employee experiences an injury or illness while on the job, they are entitled to any medical treatment that may be reasonably needed to cure, relieve, and address the condition. The employer in this case, however, has the right to select the physician that is to be used to treat the condition. If an employee seeks treatment elsewhere, by a doctor who is not authorized by the employer, then the employer or insurer is only responsible for paying $500 toward medical costs.

 

Partial wage replacement

Due to an injury or illness, there’s a chance the employee will need to miss time in order to recover. To offset the lost income from the work-related  incident, workers may be eligible for partial wages. No wages need to be paid to the employee for their first week off of the job. However, if the disability causes the employee to miss three weeks of work, the employer must pay wages for the first missed week retroactively. Once the waiting period has elapsed, state law requires that an employer or its insurance company pay the employee two-thirds of their gross average weekly wages up to a maximum amount outlined under state law.

 

 

Current Benefit Levels (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024):
Revised Maximum Weekly $804
Minimum Weekly $25
Revised Minimum Weekly Survivors Benefit $536

 

 

Vocational assistance

Per the workers’ comp act, a primary piece of the legislation is to “restore the injured employee to work at a comparable wage.” This means that an employee may be able to take advantage of vocational training to help them learn a new skill that can help them get back to work. In some cases, this vocational training may be paid for by the employer or its insurance company. However, in some instances, this cost may fall to the employee.

 

More benefits that may be available to employees

There may be  additional benefits if the injury results in permanent disability for the employee. Kansas statutes provide a great deal of information regarding employee benefits in cases when permanent disability is involved

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How can a Kansas employer purchase workers’ comp insurance?

Employers can obtain workers’ compensation insurance in Kansas in one of three ways:

  • Contact a Kansas licensed insurance agent
  • Contact the Kansas Insurance Department for information on group-funded pools
  • Contact the Division of Workers Compensation for information on self-insurance

 

In general, for most companies, this type of insurance can be purchased on the private market through a license insurance agent. However, in the case of high-risk companies, it may need to be purchased through the Kansas Assigned Risk Pool.

 

If you’d like to self-insure, contact the Division of Workers Compensation for more information on how to do that within legal guidelines. Employers who opt for this route will have to pay their own claims instead of submitting them to an insurance company.

 

More information is available on page seven of the employer’s guide from the Kansas Department of Labor.

Are there penalties if an employer does not have a workers’ comp policy?

Failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance can result in civil penalties of twice their workers’ compensation premium or $25,000, whichever is greater. The state can also shut down any business that fails to provide coverage.

 

Under Kansas workers’ compensation law,  the maximum time allowed for filing a workers’ comp claim is within 200 days from the date of the work-related accident or illness or within 200 days after the employer’s last benefit payment in connection with the incident.

What needs to happen if an employee experiences an incident on the job?

 

What employees should do

The first thing a worker should do is immediately communicate to you that they have experienced an injury while on the job. That said, because it might not be realistic to immediately know the cause, employees do their best to.

 

Per Kansas statute, K.S.A. 44-520, a claim may be denied if an employee fails to notify their employer within the earliest of the following dates:

 

(A) 20 calendar days from the date of accident or the date of injury by repetitive trauma;

 

(B) if the employee is working for the employer against whom benefits are being sought and such employee seeks medical treatment for any injury by accident or repetitive trauma, 20 calendar days from the date such medical treatment is sought; or

 

(C) if the employee no longer works for the employer against whom benefits are being sought, 10 calendar days after the employee’s last day of actual work for the employer

 

What employers should do

Unless self-insured, the employer is supposed to notify their insurance carrier or group-funded pool of employee’s injury.

 

Per K.S.A. 44-557, when an accident occurs, you must make a report with the Division of Workers Compensation within 28 days, after the receipt of such knowledge, if the personal injuries which are sustained by such accidents, are sufficient wholly or partially to incapacitate the person injured from labor or service for more than the remainder of the day, shift or turn on which such injuries were sustained. The employer should report the injury to the insurer immediately upon knowledge.

 

More resources for employers

Workers comp helps employers and employees

Workers’ compensation is a vital part of your business in Kansas. It keeps your team covered in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses, giving them peace of mind and allowing them to focus on their work. Not only is it an essential safety net, but it also protects you from potential litigation related to on-the-job accidents. So, prioritize your team’s well-being with workers’ comp — it’s a smart investment for every business. Our team can answer any questions you have about a policy.

 

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.

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Jon Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.