Overview: Workers' compensation is a state-controlled no-fault insurance system designed to compensate employees injured on the job and provide them with medical benefits and return-to-work initiatives, while also protecting employers from costly litigation. In most states, employers have the ability to purchase private insurance plans to guard against their workers' compensation exposure, self-insure against their exposure, or pool their resources with other employers in similar industries.
Given the detailed regulations in each state, together with the risks of exposure if employers violate state law provisions or contractual obligations with their insurance carriers, it is imperative that employers develop and maintain a robust and thorough workers' compensation policy structure. HR professionals and HR specialists have a key role in setting standards for receiving employee claims of injuries or illness on the job, corresponding with insurance carriers regarding claims, arguing against the validity of claims where applicable, corresponding with employees who are out on workers' compensation leave and working with in-house or external counsel when claims are disputed.
Trends: Some states are imposing more restrictive limitations on the types of injuries that are eligible for compensation, together with increased filing requirements and added pre-claim warnings for employers. The trend is to streamline the claims system while also reducing employers' exposure to claims and the cost of obtaining workers' compensation insurance.
Michigan, for example, passed sweeping legislation at the end of 2011 that restricts employee recovery eligibility while also imposing additional filing requirements on employees. Ohio has a pre-claim warning system that requires employees who plan to file claims for retaliation based on workers' compensation claims to notify employees in advance. California's new workers' compensation bill, set to take effect on January 1, 2013, will cut insurance costs tremendously by eliminating certain conditions from its list of compensable injuries and otherwise streamlining the claims process.
Author: Michael Jacobson, JD, Legal Editor
The Oklahoma Administrative Workers' Compensation Act (AWCA) went into effect on February 1, 2014, bringing major changes to the state's workers' compensation scheme. All Oklahoma employers are encouraged to review the new regulations.
As mandated by the District of Columbia Office of Workers' Compensation, all private District of Columbia employers must post the District of Columbia Workers' Compensation Poster.
As mandated by the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission, Maryland employers must post the Maryland Workers' Compensation Notice Poster.
As mandated by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, all Montana employers must post the Montana Workers' Compensation Poster.
As mandated by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Division of Industrial Relations, Workers' Compensation Section, every employer covered by Nevada Workers' Compensation statutes must post the Nevada Brief Description of Your Rights and Benefits if You Are Injured on the Job or Have an Occupational Disease Poster.
As mandated by the New Hampshire Department of Labor, all New Hampshire employers must post the Workers' Compensation Law Poster.
As mandated by the New York Department of Labor, all New York employers must post the Disabilities Benefits Law Poster.
As mandated by the New York Workers' Compensation Board, all New York employers must post the New York Workers' Compensation Notice Poster.
As mandated by the Missour Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation, all employers with five or more employees, or construction industry employers with one or more employees, must carry workers' compensation insurance.
As mandated by the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission, all employers that fall under the state's workers' compensation laws must post the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Notice Poster.
Guidance for HR on managing and complying with state workers’ compensation requirements.