What Does Workers’ Comp Cover? A Guide for Cleaning Companies
Cleaning houses and office buildings is not typically considered a dangerous job. But employees of cleaning companies can face several safety hazards. Step ladders, wet floors, cleaning products – these could all cause serious injury. Slips and falls are one of three leading causes of workplace injuries.
As a cleaning business owner, you should ensure you have the right Workers' Comp coverage in place. This is not only for your employees' protection, but also to help protect your company from liability claims.
So what does Workers' Comp cover, and how can it help protect your business? Here's what cleaning business owners should know.
What Is Workers' Comp Insurance?
Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance that helps cover employee medical expenses and lost wages resulting from an injury on the job. It also could cover employees who develop an occupational illness, such as respiratory issues that result from continually breathing in chemicals.
Is Workers' Comp Insurance Required?
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, not every business is required to carry Workers' Comp. Most states require that any business with employees carry Workers' Comp. But each has its own Workers' Comp requirements. Some states may not require Workers' Compensation for part-time employees, while others do. Or some states only require Workers' Compensation if you have over a certain number of employees.
Business owners that do not meet state Workers' Comp requirements can face a hefty fine, jail time, or both. Each state sets its own penalties.
Some charge a fine per worker per day that employees are without coverage. Others charge a one-time fine. Jail time might be months or years, and the offense can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. In most states, the money you save by not carrying Workers' Comp is likely not worth the risk of the penalty.
What Does Workers' Comp Cover?
If an employee encounters a work-related injury or develops an illness, Workers' Compensation insurance helps cover:
Immediate and Ongoing Medical Costs
Most serious injuries require immediate medical attention. So immediate medical costs are those incurred right after an injury occurs. Examples include an emergency room visit or ambulance ride.
Medical costs for ongoing treatment include things like physical therapy, follow-up doctor visits, or medications. Sometimes these costs might be years later, such as additional surgeries or other complications that arise as a direct result of the injury.
Workers' Comp could cover lost wages. If an employee experiences a work-related injury or illness, they could be reimbursed for missed wages during the recovery time they are unable to work.
Compensation for Disability
If an employee is disabled after an injury, Workers' Comp could cover disability payments. The amount of payout usually depends on the severity of the injury, if they are able to return to work in some capacity, and if they qualify for Social Security.
Are Any Injuries Not Covered by Workers' Comp?
Thankfully for employers, in most states, employees cannot file a Workers' Comp claim for every injury. For instance, workers cannot willfully injure themselves and receive Workers' Comp.
It also does not cover injuries that occur during an illegal act, while an employee is intoxicated, or when an employee is violating company policy. An employee fooling around would also not likely be covered, but any employee that person accidentally injures could be covered.
When Is an Employee Covered by Workers' Comp?
Policies will vary depending on state requirements and the insurer, but it typically does not only cover an employee in the workplace. It could also cover an injury that occurs during these instances away from the workplace:
- During a job-related training event or conference
- At company-sponsored mandatory events
- Traveling for company business
What Does a Workers' Comp Insurance Policy Cost?
The cost of getting Workers' Comp coverage varies by industry, payroll amount, and location. Since the formula for determining Workers' Comp premiums is based partially on your business's payroll, your Workers' Comp premiums could fluctuate as your payroll increases or decreases.
A history of Workers' Comp claims can cause premiums to go up, just like many other types of insurance. Training employees on established safety protocols could go a long way in helping to keep Workers' Comp premiums affordable.
If you're curious what Workers' Comp might run you, you can use these guidelines to estimate your cost.
How Does Workers' Comp Help Protect Your Business Against Liability Claims?
In most states, an employee covered by Workers' Comp cannot sue their employer for a workplace accident. As an employer, Workers' Comp could protect your business by shielding it from employee injury claims.
While an employee typically can't sue, it does not mean it can't happen. Many Workers' Comp insurers help cover attorney fees, court costs, and settlements that result from an employee injury claim.
Help Protect Your Employees and Your Business With a Workers' Comp Policy
Regarding the question 'what does Workers' Comp cover,' it doesn't simply cover your employees' expenses. It helps protect your business, too. If you have a growing cleaning business or are just starting one, more than likely you may want to ensure you have the proper coverage in place as soon as it is required.
An insurance company specializing in Workers' Comp can advise you on when you need to get a Workers' Comp policy based on the laws in your state.
If you require Workers' Comp insurance for your cleaning business, visit us online to get a quote. You can receive a quote within minutes.