Happy Friday, all! Today I want to share an HR tip of the day with you. My prior experience before the wedding industry was as a Director of Human Resources for Starbucks, so I love sharing my knowledge about this aspect of business.
Let’s talk about Workers Compensation today. I know a lot of you may cringe when you hear this term. It’s not the most fun topic to think about, but it’s necessary as a business owner to understand how to protect your business and its employees. You may not be aware of this, but Workers Compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers in every state (Texas and Oklahoma are the two exceptions). State laws in Texas and Oklahoma permit employers to “opt-out” of traditional Workers Compensation programs. However, this doesn’t mean that employers who choose to “opt-out” likely won’t be responsible if an employee is injured on the job – they still (in my opinion) should provide protection to employees injured on the job or can face litigation.
In Washington, Ohio, Wyoming, and North Dakota, these states all have state operated Workers Compensation plans. In all other states, you are able to obtain Workers Comp insurance through a private insurance broker. Start with your current insurance agent(s) to ask if they write Workers Compensation policies – if they don’t, they should be able to direct you to someone who does in your area.
Also, for those of you who travel to foreign countries for destination events, be sure to also determine if your state Workers Comp plan or the individual plan you’re purchasing covers you and your employee(s) while traveling out of the United States. This is important to ensure you and your staff are insured in the event there is an injury on the job and it’s not within the US. There are typically separate components of a Workers Comp policy that you need to add and pay for in the event you need this coverage for foreign travel.
Finally, if you have contractors and they’re injured on the job, if they don’t have their own Workers Compensation insurance policy, then you could potentially be facing litigation in that situation. Sometimes states will determine that contractors are in fact classified as employees in the event of an injury, so you may still be held liable.
The moral of the story? Protect yourself and your business. Protect your employee(s). Research your state’s Workers Compensation laws and requirements to make sure you are appropriately covered. Often times Workers Comp policies will also cover you as the business owner if you’re injured on the job.
Typically it’s a few phone calls that you’ll need to make to obtain the appropriate coverage you need – so, put this on your to-do list and make sure you’re protecting yourself, your business and your employee(s). You’ll be a better business owner for doing so!