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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 Mississippi, you must carry workers’ comp insurance if you have at least five employees. Like most states, Mississippi specifies a few employee types that are exempt from compulsory coverage.
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 Mississippi work?
If you employ five or more workers, you’re required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance in the state of Mississippi. Most employers obtain insurance through a licensed insurance agent or directly from an insurance company.
Some employers have difficulty securing insurance through the private market if they’re considered high-risk, have a history of incidents or other reasons. If you can’t find a policy on the private market, you can turn to the state’s assigned risk pool, the National Council on Compensation Insurance.
For large employers, self-insurance is another option. To qualify, you must demonstrate that your company has significant financial resources and a history of financial stability. Self-insurance applications are processed by the State of Mississippi Department of Insurance.
Who needs workers’ compensation insurance in Mississippi?
Nearly every employee in Mississippi must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, with some exceptions. Employees who are exempt from mandatory coverage include:
- Domestic workers
- Farm laborers
- Employees of non-profit fraternity, charity, religious or cultural organizations
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 Mississippi?
Failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance is a serious offense in the state of Mississippi, and is considered a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to a year imprisonment. Additionally, the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission can assess a fine of up to $10,000 to employers who fail to secure 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.