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Updated: June 13, 2024

Workers’ compensation requirements Missouri employees need to know

Published By:

Jon Davis

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If you have a business in Missouri, it’s to know and understand the state’s workers’ compensation requirements so there’s no issues with staying compliant. But what exactly is required and how do you know if your business is required to carry a workers’ compensation policy? In addition, what are the potential penalties is a company goes without the appropriate coverage?


In this guide, we’ll answer these questions and provide you with the resources you need to obtain the proper coverage for your business.

What are Missouri’s workers’ compensation requirements for employers?

Employers with five (5) or more employees are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Employees can be full or part-time, seasonal, or temporary. In addition, contractors in  the construction industry with at least one employee are also required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Missouri workers compensation requirements also include members of a limited liability company and corporate officers.


Any Missouri business that is required to have workers’ compensation insurance must post a notice of coverage at their place of business.


Are there any exemptions?

Any employee covered by federal law such as railroad, postage, and maritime workers are exempt from workers’ compensation coverage. Other notable exemptions include:


  • Any business with between 1-4 employees
  • Farm laborers
  • Domestic servants in a private home
  • Workers performing casual labor in a private home
  • Real estate agents
  • Direct sellers
  • Volunteers of a tax exempt organization
  • Sports officials
  • Contest workers
  • Sole proprietors
  • Members of a partnership


Any employer that is exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation insurance has the option to voluntarily purchase coverage for themselves and/or their employees.


Now that we better understand which employers must have a policy, its a good idea to understand how coverage protects employees.

What benefits does workers’ compensation cover for employees in Missouri?

Missouri workers’ compensation insurance offers coverage for the following:


Medical treatment

Medical treatment covered under Missouri workers’ compensation includes all necessary medical care, prescriptions, and any medical devices needed to aid in recovery. Any travel needed to continue treatment, whether local or out of the area, is also covered.


Temporary partial disability

Any employee injured or who becomes ill on the job may be classified as temporarily disabled. Temporary partial disability or TPD is when an employee is unable to perform the duties required by their previous job but can still work in some capacity. Any employee classified as TPD may be entitled to lost wages until their recovery.


Temporary total disability

Any employee that is classified as temporarily totally disabled is when an employee’s on-the-job injury has rendered them unable to work in any capacity for an unknown period of time. TTD offers those employees weekly benefits until they are able to return to work.

Permanent partial disability

Any employee that suffers from an on-the-job injury that leaves them permanently partially disabled is entitled to receive a lump-sum payment based on the level of disability.


Permanent total disability

If an employee becomes totally disabled as a result of a work-place accident, they are entitled to weekly benefit payments for a lifetime, with the option to receive a lump-sum payment instead.


Death benefits

Survivors of a deceased employee such as a spouse or dependent children may be entitled to survivor benefits if the employee’s death is related to a workplace accident or illness. These benefits can include funeral expenses and weekly benefits.

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How can Missouri employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance?

Most Missouri employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance carrier. Employers may also apply to the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation to become self-insured, with two self-insured options available; individual and a group trust. To learn more about Missouri self-insurance options, you can download Chapter 3 of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations – Division of Workers’ Compensation, which explains more about self-insurance requirements.


For businesses that may have problems finding workers’ compensation insurance, they can obtain coverage through Missouri’s assigned risk pool.


Are there penalties for not having workers’ compensation insurance?

Any Missouri business that is required to have workers’ compensation insurance that fails to provide adequate coverage can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor with a penalty up to three times the annual premium you would be required to pay, up to $50,000. Your business is also liable for the cost of any injuries that an employee suffers, with a second violation resulting in a Class D felony charge.

What happens when an employee is injured?

If an employee is injured, they will need to notify their employer in writing. This notice should include the date, time, and place that the injury occurred, the nature of the injury, and the name and address of the injured employee.


Employees are required to report any work-related injury or illness within 30 days of occurrence. Failure to report the injury within this timeframe may jeopardize any workers’ compensation benefits they may be entitled to.


Once the injury notice has been received, the employer will report the injury to their workers’ compensation carrier or third party administrator within 5 days of the date of injury or injury notification. In addition, employers will also need to report the injury by filing the First Report of Injury (FROI) electronically with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days of notification of the injury.


Can employees see their own physician?

It is the responsibility of the employer or their insurance company to provide access to medical care. Though Missouri law provides employers with the option to choose health care providers for any injured or ill worker, the final decision usually rests in the hands of the insurance company, who likely has a list of authorized medical providers that the employee can choose from. Employees can choose to see their own physician, but will be responsible for all treatment costs.


There are also cases when an employer and an insurance company will authorize the employee to see their own physician, but prior approval is needed.


Additional Missouri resources

For more information on Missouri workers’ compensation requirements or to ask a specific question, contact the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation at (573)-751-4231. Additional resources are listed below.


Workers’ compensation protects Missouri employers and employees

Purchasing workers’ compensation insurance is a wise business decision, even if you’re not required by Missouri state law to do so. Having workers’ compensation gives your employees peace of mind that any injuries or illness they may suffer on the job will be covered. But workers’ compensation also protects employers from pricey penalties and costly litigation in the event that an employee is injured while performing their job. If you have questions or concerns about obtaining workers’ compensation insurance for your Missouri business, our team can 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.

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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.