Workers’ compensation coverage is important for your business, but keeping track of all that’s required can be time-consuming. In this guide, we’ll explain which Oklahoma businesses are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, what it covers, and how businesses can obtain a policy.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects employers and employees
Workers’ compensation insurance provides a safety net for both employers and employees. Having the appropriate coverage can protect a business from costly penalties and possible litigation, while employees are protected from financial loss if they’re injured on the job.
Now that we know what a workers’ compensation policy is for, let us look at which Oklahoma businesses need one.
What employers in Oklahoma need to have workers’ compensation insurance?
In the state of Oklahoma, any employer with at least one full or part time employee is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Any employer required to carry workers compensation insurance is required to post CC-Form 1A in a conspicuous area in their place of business.
Are there any exceptions?
There are several categories of businesses that are exempt from providing workers’ compensation coverage. These include:
- Agricultural or horticultural workers whose employer had less than $100,000 in payroll the prior calendar year
- Employees of the federal government
- Licensed real estate salespeople and brokers paid on commission
- Any person who provides medical or social services care under the direction of the Department of Human Services (this does not apply to nursing home employees)
- A family business with less than five employees, all of whom are related by blood or marriage
- Independent contractors
- Sole proprietors
- Partners and stockholder employees of an LLC
If you’re unsure whether your business is exempt from Oklahoma workers’ compensation regulations, it’s best to check with the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission. If your business is not required to provide workers’ compensation insurance, you must submit an CC-Form 36A Affidavit of Exempt Status, which costs $50 and is good for two years.
Now, let us go over the typical benefits that a policy provides for workers.
Exploring the protections of workers’ compensation insurance
Oklahoma workers’ compensation insurance offers the following benefits for employees.
Complete medical treatment, including doctor’s visits, nursing, prescriptions, and any medical devices needed such as crutches are provided to an employee who becomes injured or develops an occupational illness at no cost.
Continuing medical maintenance
Injured or ill employees are eligible for continued medical treatment after the initial treatment is over if recommended by the treating physician. This applies to employees able to return to work as well as those determined to be temporarily or permanently disabled.
Oklahoma offers temporary partial disability and temporary total disability benefits for workers injured on the job until they are able to return to work. Benefits are paid after the first three days after the initial period of temporary disability.
Permanent partial disability and permanent total disability benefits are available to employees who are unable to work. Partial disability is paid to employees who are unable to return to their former job but are still able to work in some capacity while total disability benefits are available to those unable to return to any form of gainful employment
An employee that is unable to return to their previous job due to the injury suffered may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation and the possibility of job placement. Employees that are classified as permanently partially disabled are eligible for vocational rehabilitation.
If a worker dies as a result of an on-the-job accident or injury, a surviving spouse and dependent children are entitled to receive benefits.
While most workplace-related injuries are covered, the following are not:
- Injuries that occur in a parking lot or area adjacent to the employer’s place of business. This does not apply if the parking lot is under complete control of the business alone.
- Injuries that involve drugs or alcohol.
- Injuries that occur while engaging in social or recreational activities for personal pleasure.
- Injuries caused by pre-existing conditions when no aggravation to those injuries has incurred in the line of work.
- Injuries that occur on a work break unless the break is authorized and incurs inside the place of business.
Now that we have covered what a workers’ comp policy covers and why employers need to carry one, let’s talk about how to buy one.
How can Oklahoma employers purchase workers’ comp insurance?
Oklahoma employers may buy workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance companies. Employers also have the option to secure workers’ compensation for their employees by applying to become self insured, by becoming a member of a commission-approved group self-insurance association, or by becoming a qualified employer, which requires the approval of the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
Are there penalties if a business does not have workers’ comp insurance?
Any Oklahoma employer that fails to secure adequate workers’ compensation coverage may be subject to penalties up to $1,000 for each day that the business fails to have the proper workers’ compensation coverage in place. Civil penalties may also be assessed and employers may be ordered to cease operations until all penalties are paid and workers’ compensation insurance is in place.
How are workplace-related injuries reported?
The employee is required to notify their employer as soon as possible should an injury, accident, or illness occur. Oklahoma law requires employers to provide all injured workers with access to treatment within five days of the injury occurrence or knowledge of the injury. Employees can also seek emergency treatment at the nearest facility at the employer’s cost.
Can an employee use their own physician for treatment?
Under Oklahoma law, employers have the right to choose the treating physician should an accident or injury occur. However, if the employer fails to provide access to treatment within five days of the injury being reported or occurring, the employee has the right to obtain medical care from the physician of their choice.
If an employee is receiving treatment from an employer-chosen physician, they do have the right to request a one-time change in physicians, choosing from a list of three physicians as provided by the insurance carrier or the employer.
More resources for Oklahoma employers
For more information on Oklahoma workers’ compensation, contact the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission at (405)-522-3222 or toll-free at (855) 291-3612. Additional resources are listed below.
Workers’ compensation insurance is important for Oklahoma employers
Having the required workers’ compensation insurance in place protects both employers and employees. Coverage provides your employees with peace of mind that their medical bills are covered should they be injured on the job, while having the proper insurance also protects employers from potential costly penalties and expensive litigation. If you have questions on how to obtain a policy, 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.