Businesses can take as many precautions as possible to keep employees safe and productive, but accidents inevitably happen. That’s why it’s important to have a solid workers’ compensation policy in place to protect your business and those who keep it afloat. Not to mention, it’s required for any business with at least one employee—in most cases.
As an HR professional, the job of getting this set up is on your plate. As you put together the company’s workers compensation plan, keep the following in mind.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
In simple terms, workers’ compensation substitutes an employees’ compensation and medical benefits if they get injured on the job. It’s a win-win because employees’ medical needs are taken care of and employers are immune from full liability if an employee is injured while on the job.
- Know What’s Included and What’s Not
There are different types of coverage that fall under the umbrella of workers’ compensation, according to this workers compensation guide, including:
- Medical care coverage
- Temporary or permanent disability coverage
- Pay to train employees for a new position that they can do while injured
- Family compensation for death
Before you finalize your policy, it’s imperative that you understand what’s included and what’s not. Different states have different workers’ compensation requirements, so know those specific to yours as you do your research.
- Know Your State’s Workers’ Compensation Law
Do you know your state’s workers’ compensation law? While it’s required in every state, the requirements aren’t the same across the board: “Requirements vary by state, by industry, and even by the size and structure of your business and payroll. Businesses that fail to carry compulsory workers’ compensation insurance can face severe fines, a heavy lawsuit, or even criminal charges,” according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
For example, in Arkansas, most employers with three or more employees are required to have workers compensation, with exceptions including farm laborers and real estate agents. These details are critical for you to know.
- Education is Key
As an HR professional, it is your duty to educate employees on their benefits, including workers’ compensation. Educating your employees on their coverage and injury and illness reporting requirements will ensure that they know exactly what to do should they get injured or ill while on the job.
These reporting policies and procedures requirements should be documented and clearly outlined in your employee handbook. If your company has an employee portal, be sure to post workers’ compensations information so that it’s easily accessible to employees. In many cases, there’s a period of time when it can (and should) be reported, among other small details that are easy to miss.
- Choose Your Carrier Wisely
As you can tell, workers’ compensation can be complex and difficult to understand, which is why it’s important to choose your carrier or agent wisely.
Partnering with an experienced agent who is knowledgeable about your respective industry is key. This allows them to effectively consult on requirements that are applicable to your unique business. With requirements varying from state to state and industry to industry, you need to have consultation you can trust.
Check out this guide from BizJournals.com for tips on choosing the best policy.
- Evaluate Your Policy Regularly
Your business is constantly changing, and as such, your workers compensation offering should as well. Perhaps you’ve taken on a new type of work or brought on independent contractors throughout the year. Best practice to review your workers’ compensation policy annually to ensure it properly accommodates any changes that your business has made over the past year.
Chances are your policy will need to be updated with new coverage or premiums.
Educate Yourself on Workers Comp
The importance of workers’ compensation cannot be overstated. Failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance can subject your business to severe fines, damaging lawsuits, or worse, criminal charges. Keep the details above in mind as you put together a workers compensation package for your employer to make sure you don’t miss any important details.