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Almost all Vermont employers must have a workers’ compensation policy. But how do organizations keep up with all that’s required? In this guide, we’ll break down what workers’ compensation covers, which employers need to have a policy, and why many businesses buy this type of insurance.
Which employers need to have a workers’ compensation policy in Vermont?
Workers’ compensation coverage is required for almost all employers with one or more employees, with a few exceptions. These are listed below.
- Officers of a corporation or LLC members can exclude up to four (4) officers or members from protection under Vermont Workers’ Compensation if they have prior approval from the Vermont Department of Labor (see the application)
- A person whose employment is of a casual nature and not for the employer’s trade or business
- A person engaged in amateur sports, even if an employer contributes to the support of such sports
- A person engaged in agriculture or farm employment for an employer whose aggregate payroll is less than $10,000 in a calendar year, unless the employer chooses to provide coverage
- Certain elected officials and volunteers
- Sole proprietors
This information is also available in the Vermont’s Business Owner’s Guide to Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
In addition to carrying coverage, Vermont law requires a Workers’ Compensation Reinstatement Rights poster be placed in a conspicuous area where all employees can see it.
What does workers’ comp generally cover in the state of Vermont?
With a policy in place, workers’ compensation insurance typically covers incidents that happen on the job. For employees, this can include both a physical injury and an occupational disease they experience during the course of employment. Workers can experience incidents that occur either instantly or develop over time, per the Vermont employers fact sheet.
Reasonable and necessary medical care or treatment
In most cases, coverage should help pay for all reasonable and necessary medical services and supplies related to an on-the-job injury. Sometimes this can include not only coverage for doctor visits and hospital treatment, but also coverage for physical therapy, medication, chiropractic treatment, and psychological counseling.
In some circumstances, if an employee is disabled due to a work incident, they could be eligible to receive weekly wage replacement compensation that’s called temporary, total disability (TTD) compensation. In some cases should a medical professional release the employee for part-time work or light duty during recovery, they could be entitled to temporary, partial disability (TPD) compensation.
If an employee suffers a permanent impairment that prevents them from being able to work once recovery ends, the employee is likely entitled to compensation for that impairment, as rated by a medical provider.
If the employee’s injuries prevent them from returning to their previous position, they could be eligible for training, job placement, or on-the-job training to get back to suitable employment.
What are the penalties if a Vermont employer breaks workers’ compensation laws?
There can be costly penalties if an employer goes without securing coverage. Please don’t get upset with the messenger, but below are the fines that are in the state’s statute:
- Businesses that fail to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance could pay a civil penalty of $100 for each day without coverage (for the first seven days). Penalties can rise to $150 per day after those first seven days pass and the company is still without coverage.
- The state Commissioner can issue a stop work order until coverage is secured.
- In addition, an employer could have to pay an administrative fee of $250.00 for each day they fail to secure workers’ compensation coverage after the commissioner issues an order to obtain insurance. There’s also the chance the employer could also be assessed an administrative penalty of not more than $250.00 for each employee for every day that the employer fails to secure workers’ compensation coverage.
- Lastly, there can be penalties if an employer violates a stop work order. For example, an employer could face a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for the first violation
- Civil penalty of not more than $10,000.00 for a second or subsequent violation; or
- a criminal fine of not more than $10,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both.
These fines are listed in the Vermont statutes, and we’ll also include a link in the employer resource below.
What happens if an employee experiences a workplace incident?
What is considered an injury?
In the state of Vermont, a workplace injury arises out of and in the course of employment and can be either a physical injury or an occupational disease that may happen instantly or develop over time.
First report of injury
Though it is the last thing that anyone in the workplace wants to have happen, employers must report all work injuries that require medical attention or cause one lost day of work or more. To do this, they will use the first report of injury form. These incidents must be reported within 72 hours.
Filing a first report does not make the employer liable for the employee’s injury. An employer still has the right to challenge the claim.
The first report of injury must be reported to the department and to the employer’s insurance carrier. It is up to the insurance adjuster to deny the claim.
Employees must file a workers’ comp claim within six months of the injury. That period can be extended if they can prove the employer had prior knowledge of the precipitating incident.
More resources from the state of Vermont
- Vermont’s business owners guide to workers’ compensation
- Employer’s workers’ comp fact sheet
- Penalties for noncompliance
- Chapter 9: Employer’s Liability And Workers’ Compensation
- Best practices for employers
- More information is available from Vermont’s Department of Labor
If you have additional questions related to workers’ comp, you can reach their administrative offices several ways.
- Get help by phone: (802) 828-2286
- Fax questions: (802) 828-2195
- Or reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Workers’ compensation is virtually a must-have in Vermont
By having a workers’ compensation policy in place, a company checks off a very important to-do item that helps both employers and employees. That’s because when coverage is taken care of, employees can rest assured that if they experience a workplace incident they can take time away from the workplace, knowing they will receive partial wage replacement and medical costs covered. On the flipside, it helps employers potentially avoid litigation stemming from employees that contract an occupational illness or experience an injury while on the job.