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In almost every U.S. state, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have a certain number of employees. If you’re a business owner in Idaho, you’ll need to purchase workers’ comp insurance if you have at least one employee that doesn’t meet the state’s exemptions criteria.
In this article, we’ll go over who you need to cover, who is exempt, and possible penalties for non-compliance.
How does workers’ compensation insurance in Idaho work?
In Idaho, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least one full-time, part-time, or even occasional employee. If you’re a business owner who is yet to hire your first employee, you must secure a workers’ comp policy before you make your first hire.
To obtain workers’ comp in Idaho, you have four options:
- Private insurance. There are over 300 licensed insurance carriers to choose from in the state of Idaho.
- State insurance fund. If you can’t find a suitable private insurer, you can contact the Idaho State Insurance Fund.
- Assigned risk pool. The assigned risk pool is an option for businesses that can’t find suitable coverage in either the private market or the State Insurance Fund. It’s administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
- Self-insurance. Larger corporations can qualify to become self-insurers. In order to qualify, a company must be above a payroll threshold and meet several other state code requirements.1
Who needs workers’ compensation insurance in Idaho?
All employees, including part-time and occasional workers, must be covered by your workers’ comp policy in the state of Idaho unless they are on the list of exemptions. The following employment types are exempt from the workers’ compensation requirement:
- Household domestic workers
- Sole-proprietorship employees who are family members of their employer and live in the employer’s household
- Sole proprietors
- Working members of a partnership or LLC
- Corporate officers who own at least 10% of the company
- Agricultural spraying or dusting pilots
- Volunteer ski patrollers
- Athletic officials for grades 7-12
- Casual or occasional work not related to the primary work of the employer
What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp in Idaho?
Businesses that fail to comply with workers’ compensation laws can face liability, fines and criminal penalties. If one of your employees is injured and you don’t have coverage, you could be liable to pay for their medical expenses, recovery costs and lost wages. Furthermore, you can face fines of up to $25 per day in which you don’t have coverage for your employees. Operating without workers’ compensation insurance is considered a misdemeanor in Idaho and non-compliant employers could face criminal charges.
What does workers’ comp cover?
If one of your employees is injured or becomes ill on the job, workers’ comp can cover their immediate medical expenses such as ambulance rides, emergency room visits, x-rays, surgery and prescription medications.
For example, if a kitchen employee reaches into a sink and slices their hand on a broken glass, they might require medical attention. Workers’ comp could cover the costs of their emergency room visit, stitches and pain management prescriptions.
Many work-related incidents can leave employees unable to work for several weeks or months. Workers’ comp can provide some relief for employees in the form of partial wage replacement.
If an employee breaks their foot in a work-related accident, they could end up stuck at home for multiple months. While they’re out of work, workers’ comp would cover some of their lost wages.
Some work-related injuries require long-term care such as physical therapy or pain management. Often, these injuries are more the result of repetitive workplace stress rather than a single traumatic incident. Chronic back issues for construction workers and carpal tunnel syndrome for office employees are two common examples of the types of workers who must receive ongoing care due to repetitive stress. If their claim is approved, workers’ comp can cover the costs associated with their ongoing care.
If the unthinkable happens and an employee passes away because of a workplace incident, workers’ comp can cover funeral costs and other death benefits for the deceased worker’s family or beneficiaries.