Mississippi has rules and regulations in place governing its workers’ compensation laws that affect most businesses in the state. But what are those regulations, what do they mean for Mississippi employers, and what are the potential penalties for employers that don’t have the proper coverage? In this guide, we’ll cover these questions and more.
How does workers’ compensation coverage protect Mississippi employers and employees?
Mandated by Mississippi state law, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect employees that are injured on the job by providing medical care, rehabilitation services, and disability benefits when an injury or illness occurs. But workers’ compensation also protects employers from potential lawsuits brought by injured employees. Whether the injury is slight or serious, if it occurs in the workplace, it’s covered by Mississippi workers’ compensation laws.
Now that we better understand some of the benefits of habving a policy, let’s find out more about which employers need to carry it.
What Mississippi businesses are required to have workers’ compensation?
To put it simply, any Mississippi employer with five (5) or more employees is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If an employer has less than five employees, coverage is voluntary, but it can is still be a good idea, since it can protect you from liability should a work-place related injury occur.
Businesses required to have workers’ compensation coverage must display a Notice of Coverage form in a conspicuous location at their place of business. The form should include the name of the insurance carrier, claims offer, and the employer contact should an accident or injury occur.
Are there any exemptions?
There are some exemptions from Mississippi’s workers’ compensation regulations. Those exemptions include:
- Domestic workers
- Farm laborers
- Non-profit fraternal, charitable, religious, or cultural organizations
- Federal employees
- Transportation or maritime workers covered by federal compensation laws
- Sole proprietors
- Independent contractors
It’s important to note that though the above categories are exempt from Mississippi workers’ compensation laws, any of the employers above have the option to voluntarily obtain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
Let’s talk next about what coverage generally provides employees who need to take advantage of it.
What does workers’ compensation cover?
Mississippi workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover workplace-related illness and injuries including chronic or repetitive use injuries, and provides the following benefits to all covered employees:
Medical benefits include all doctor and hospital services, nursing services, medication, physical therapy, and any additional medical apparatus that may be necessary such as crutches and other medical aid devices. Rehabilitation services may also be provided to an injured employee when deemed necessary, with vocational training available as well. In addition, mileage reimbursement for trips to medical facilities is also included in the medical benefits offered.
Wage loss benefits
If an employee is considered temporarily disabled and must miss time from work due to a work-related illness or injury, they are entitled to a wage loss benefit equal to two-thirds of their regular pay. If a physician finds the employee has reached their maximum level of improvement and still cannot perform their job, they are considered permanently disabled and provided with additional benefit payments.
Upon the death of an employee due to a work-related injury or illness, a death benefit is paid to the surviving spouse and/or dependents, with benefits paid for up to 450 weeks after the employee’s death. In addition, funeral expenses and a lump-sum payment to a surviving spouse will be paid immediately.
How do Mississippi employers purchase workers’ comp insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from any private insurance company licensed to sell workers’ compensation insurance in Mississippi. Premiums for Mississippi businesses depend on several factors including:
- The size of the business
- The number of employees
- The type of work the employees routinely perform
- Claims or accident history
Employers that do not qualify to purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company or are considered high-risk can purchase insurance from Mississippi’s Assigned Risk Pool which is administered by the National Council On Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
Mississippi businesses can also elect to self-insure by filling out the Employer’s Application for the Privilege of Paying Compensation Provided in the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act as a Self-Insurer. In addition, those applying to be self-insured must submit audited financial statements, loss run analysis and actuarial reserve analysis for the past three years, and their most recent safety report.
What are the penalties for not having workers’ compensation coverage in Mississippi?
Bad news is never something we want to share, but employers that are found to be in violation of the state mandate may face penalties including a fine of up to $1,000, one year in jail, or both. In addition, any employer not covered by workers’ compensation insurance may be responsible for any medical bills that their employee sustains by way of a work-related injury.
Why workers’ compensation insurance is important in Mississippi
Having a workers’ compensation policy in place is a wise business decision, protecting your business from costly lawsuits from injured employees as well as potential, state-mandated penalties. But a workers’ compensation policy also protects your workers from unsustainable medical bills and lost wages as a result of a workplace injury or illness. If you have questions about workers’ compensation insurance or need information on purchasing a policy, please contact our team for assistance.
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.