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In almost every U.S. state, employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have a certain number of employees. If you’re a business owner in Kansas, you must carry workers’ comp insurance if you have at least one employee. Like most states, Kansas specifies a few employee types that are exempt from compulsory coverage.
Workers’ compensation is one of many small business insurance types all Kansas entrepreneurs should consider.
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 Kansas work?
The state of Kansas requires you to carry workers’ compensation insurance as soon as you have one employee. Employers can obtain coverage by purchasing a policy via the private market. Insurance must be purchased from a provider licensed by the Kansas Insurance Department.
Some larger employers can also qualify to become self-insurers. To become a self-insurer, a company must periodically submit proof that it has the financial capability to handle injury claims from any and all of its employees.
A group of employers may also get together to form a group-funded pool. Group-funded pools must meet certain statutory requirements to qualify for self-insurance. These pools are administered by the Kansas Department of Insurance.
Who needs workers’ compensation insurance in Kansas?
Nearly every employee in Kansas must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, with some exceptions. Employees who are exempt from mandatory coverage include:
- Certain agricultural employees
- Real estate agents who are classified as independent contractors
- Firefighters who belong to an organization that has waived workers’ compensation coverage
- Sole proprietors, LLC members and partners
- Some owner-operator vehicle drivers who have their own occupational coverage
As a business owner or sole proprietor, you don’t have to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for yourself. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get coverage. Sustaining an injury or illness while performing your work can lead to sizable hospital bills, medical costs and a lengthy recovery period. Investing in workers’ comp for yourself could save you from a brutal financial setback.
What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp in Kansas?
Failing to provide workers’ compensation when legally required to do so is a serious offense in the state of Kansas. Businesses that are non-compliant can face mandatory closures and fines of up to twice the annual insurance premium or $25,000, whichever is higher. Any business found to be non-compliant can be shut down until they provide proof of proper insurance coverage.
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 might 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.