Workers’ compensation is a system of insurance that is mandated by law. The purpose of the law is to hold employers responsible for hazardous workplaces and protect employees from suffering financially after an injury. The law requires that employers purchase insurance, and pay premiums, for the benefit of their employees.
In some instances, if an employer can provide proof that they are “self-insured,” they will not have to go through an outside insurance company; nonetheless they must still provide the same compensation to their injured employees. In order to self-insure, an employer must obtain written permission from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Of course, as an employee, the most important thing to know is whether or not you are covered, and, if so, how to obtain compensation. If you are an employee in the state of Minnesota, the following includes information you need to know about obtaining workers’ compensation coverage.
Who is an Employee?
Under Minnesota law, an employee is an individual who performs a service for another. The law covers minors and part-time workers as well as undocumented workers. There is no requirement that a worker be a citizen of Minnesota, or even the United States, to obtain coverage under workers’ compensation laws. If a person is hired to do domestic work, such as babysit someone’s children, they may not be covered under workers’ compensation. If you are being paid to do work for another person in the state of Minnesota, it is highly likely that you are covered.
Does the Law Cover Minnesota Independent Contractors?
Independent contractors are covered under their own company’s insurance. There is a nine-factor test that a court will apply to determine if someone is truly an independent contractor or an employee of the general contractor. If the independent contractor passes the nine-factor test and invoices are submitted in their business’s name alone, and their business is registered with the Secretary of State and the Department of Labor and Industry, they will be considered an independent contractor. A true independent contractor is not an easy standard to meet.
What are the Exceptions?
As with any law, there are exceptions to the rules of coverage. If a small business is family-owned and employees are relatives, an employer may not be required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Other exceptions apply to family members who work on a family-owned farm together. Nonprofits who pay less than $1,000 in annual salary are not required to carry insurance. Other than these specific examples, the remaining employers in the state of Minnesota are required to provide insurance for their employees. Unless you are working for a family member, you are probably not an exception to the rule.
The common theme in each of these answers is the vast majority of employees who work or an employer in our state are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In addition, it is legally required that an employer pay for this insurance. The rules are concrete and the exceptions are far and few between. If you have concerns about whether you are covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance, contact our team at the Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office today for a free and fair evaluation of your case.