You’ve heard of workers’ comp claims, but do you know about workers’ comp insurance? Workers’ compensation insurance is insurance that most employers are legally required to have. If you get hurt at work, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission will decide whether to approve or deny your claim, and the insurance will pay it if approved.
State laws in Virginia require most employers to have workers’ comp insurance, but some employers are exceptions. Do you know if you’re covered if you get hurt at work?
Who is Covered
Virginia law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have more than two (2) employees. Part-time, temporary, minors, and working family members all count as employees. A contractor must also ensure employees of a subcontractor, even if the subcontractor has their own workers’ comp insurance.
The law covers employees but not independent contractors. Independent contractors are usually self-employed, often work for many companies, and receive a 1099 tax form. Employees usually work for one company and receive a W-2 tax form. Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee is a matter of control. If the employer can control how and when you are doing the work, you are probably an employee. If you can come and go as you please and perform the work any way you want at anytime you want, then you are probably an independent contractor.
If you work for a company in another state and come into Virginia temporarily for work, your job must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for the time you are in Virginia. Some states offer reciprocity, where workers’ compensation insurance for one state counts as insurance coverage in another state, but Virginia does not have reciprocity with any other state.
Who is Not Covered
If a company has one or two employees, Virginia law does not require it to have workers’ comp insurance. If you are the second employee at a company, you may not be covered.
Sole proprietors, or people working for themselves, are not required to have workers’ comp insurance as long as there are no other employees. There are no forms that need to be filled out to prove this or to receive an exemption from the workers’ compensation insurance requirement. They can choose to be covered if they would like to be.
People don’t have to buy workers’ compensation insurance if they hire individuals to help at home, such as nursing aides, babysitters, or house cleaners. Domestic jobs like these are exempt from requiring coverage if a person hires another person. If a person hires a business to provide the service, such as hiring a house cleaning service with many cleaners rather than a single house cleaner working by herself, the business must have coverage.
Volunteers are usually not covered under workers’ compensation insurance policies.