Most New Hampshire employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. But understanding the various regulations can be time-consuming and be challenging to keep track of. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the workers’ compensation basics, whether your business is required to purchase workers’ comp insurance, and what some of the potential repercussions are for companies that don’t stay compliant.
How workers’ compensation protects employers and employees in New Hampshire
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to provide employees with peace of mind, should they be injured in an on-the-job accident. But having workers’ compensation insurance also protects employers from costly lawsuits that may be brought by injured workers as well as penalties and fines that may be assessed by the state. In some states, businesses may even have to cease operations until they have the proper workers’ compensation insurance in place.
Now that we understand why workers’ compensation is so important in protecting employees and employers, let’s go over which businesses are required to have a policy in place.
What New Hampshire businesses are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance?
In a nutshell, New Hampshire law says that any employer with an employee, full-time or part-time, is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The definition of employee includes any relatives such as a spouse, daughter, son, or parent. The requirement also includes all non-profit organizations. In addition, any business operating as a subcontractor under a general contractor is also required to have workers’ compensation insurance.
A corporation or LLC that has more than three executive officers or LLC members is also required to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Any New Hampshire employer required to have workers’ compensation coverage must also post a notice in the workplace that they have the appropriate coverage in place.
Are there exceptions?
New Hampshire does have several exceptions to their current workers’ compensation requirements including:
- Sole proprietors
- Independent contractors
- LLCs and corporations with less than three officers or members and no employees
- Railroad employees involved in interstate commerce
- Direct sellers
- Qualified real estate agents, brokers, or appraisers
- Individuals providing services related to the residential placement of disabled people
Any employer that is not required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance can still opt to voluntarily provide coverage if desired. Now that we’ve discussed which employers are required to have coverage, we’ll move on to some benefits that a policy provides when the need arises.
What does workers’ compensation insurance cover?
New Hampshire workers’ compensation provides a variety of benefits to injured workers.
Payment of medical bills
New Hampshire workers’ compensation pays for all medical services that are required by the injured worker including doctor’s visits, hospitalization, nursing care, and any remedial care.
Temporary partial disability benefits
New Hampshire has a three-day waiting period for the payment of partial disability, which is designed to supplement worker pay if they are unable to earn the equivalent of what they earned before their partial disability. If a worker returns to alternative duty within five days of their injury, the three-day waiting period is waived.
Weekly indemnity payments
Injured employees may be entitled to weekly indemnity payments until they can return to work, with earnings calculated based on earnings for the prior 26 to 52 weeks.
Temporary alternative duty
Any employer with more than five employees is required to develop temporary alternative work opportunities for an employee injured on the job.
Permanent impairment award
If an injury is determined to be permanent due to loss of a body part or permanent injury to the spine, an employee is entitled to a single award using the employee’s previous average weekly wage.
Under vocational rehabilitation services, an injured employee is provided access to services in a very specific order. These include:
- Return to previous job – same employer
- Return to previous job – modified – same employer
- Return to different job – same employer
- Return to same job – different employer
- Return to same job – modified – different employer
- Return to different job – different employer
- On the job training
- New skill training or retraining
- Other educational/academic program
The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to return the employee to a work earning their previous weekly wage at a minimum.
Surviving dependents including a spouse and/or dependent children of a deceased worker are eligible to receive weekly benefits. In addition, funeral and related burial expenses up to $10,000 are paid.
Next, its time to talk about how to buy coverage and what happens when there’s a workplace incident that needs to be reported.
How can employers purchase workers’ compensation in New Hampshire?
Employers are able to purchase workers’ compensation insurance from any private insurance company licensed to sell workers’ comp policies. If a private insurance company declines to offer coverage, they are required to notify the employer of the availability of the Assigned Risk Plan of the National Council of Compensation Insurance, for which they must also supply an application.
Employers also have the option to self-insure your business, leaving you responsible for paying workers’ compensation claims. To become self-insured in New Hampshire, you must fill out the Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Application. To complete the application, you must also provide a company balance sheet and a financial guarantee such as a surety bond, deposit of securities, or deposit of cash.
What are the penalties for not having workers’ compensation insurance?
Remember, we’re just relaying the facts, but failure to comply with New Hampshire workers’ compensation regulations can result in severe penalties, including a one-time penalty of $2,500. In addition, an employer may be fined $100 per employee for each day they are not in compliance with New Hampshire workers’ compensation regulations, and may be held financially responsible for any future medical claims, including death benefits. The state may also order any business not in compliance to cease operations until the proper coverage is in place.
What happens when an employee is injured on the job?
The New Hampshire Department of Labor requires an injured employee to notify their employer within two years of the initial injury or onset of illness. Employees have up to three years to file a claim for benefits, though it’s best if the employee reports the injury and files a claim as soon as possible.
An employer is responsible for filing a First Report of Injury to the Department of Labor within five days of notification of injury. In addition, employees are required to complete the Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease at their earliest opportunity. A copy of both of the completed forms should remain on file with the employer for five years from the date of injury.
Can injured employees use their own physician?
Any employee injured on the job in New Hampshire can use their own physician, and have the right to a second opinion. However, if an employer uses a managed care company to manage workers’ compensation, an employee must choose from a list of pre-approved physicians.
Additional New Hampshire resources
Why workers’ compensation insurance is important for New Hampshire employers
Having the proper workers’ compensation insurance coverage keeps your business in compliance with New Hampshire law and provides additional benefits for both the policy holder and those performing duties in the workplace. On one hand, the proper coverage protects you from potentially costly litigation from certain on-the-job incidents. Furthermore, it gives your employees peace of mind that their medical expenses will be covered if they are injured on the job. If you have questions about workers’ compensation coverage, 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.