Does Every Employer in Maryland Have To Carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Published on May 21, 2024 at 7:37 pm in Workers Compensation.

Does every employer in Maryland have to carry workers' compensation coverage?

You just got a job after months or even longer of searching and applying, and you can’t wait to start on your first day. You’re excited because it’s got good hours, great pay, plus benefits. But, one thing most of us don’t consider when starting a new job is if our employer has workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Does every employer in Maryland have to carry workers’ compensation coverage? We assume that all businesses have this coverage, but what if your employer doesn’t?

In this blog, we’ll discuss what the law requires of employers in Maryland and how you can make sure you’re covered.

Workers’ Compensation Requirements for Employers

According to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC), all employers, with few exceptions, that have one or more employees are required by state law to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Employers must obtain this coverage from any insurance company licensed to write workers’ compensation insurance in Maryland or from the Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company. Additionally, employers can apply to become a self-insured, which requires approval from the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

If an employer fails to provide workers’ compensation insurance, they could be fined up to $10,000 and any employer who deducts from their employees’ paychecks will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Exceptions for Farmers

There are few exceptions to the required workers’ compensation coverage, those are regarding farmers and migrant workers. According to Maryland Statute 9-210, farmers are only required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage if they have at least three full-time employees or an annual payroll of at least $15,000 for full-time employees.

Additionally, individuals, including migrant workers, are considered covered employees if the previously stated requirements for the farmer are met and if the individuals are paid for the following services outside of office work:

  • Operating a machine connected with animal, crop, or soil management
  • Constructing or repairing a fixture or machine
  • Handling an animal or crop with or without a machine

Find Out If You’re Covered

It’s important to understand the state laws regarding workers’ compensation coverage. Coverage applies to employees only, and not all injuries may qualify. An employer-employee relationship must exist for a worker to be covered, and the injury must be an accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.

Some companies intentionally set themselves up in such a way that they have no more than one actual employee so that they are not required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, they hire independent contractors to perform the necessary work. Or, in some cases, businesses may not have coverage because they are a sole proprietorship or partnership. Anyone in these categories may elect to be covered and purchase the necessary insurance.

Concerns About Workers’ Compensation Coverage

In the event that you are injured on the job, you shouldn’t have to cover the costs of medical bills yourself. If you don’t meet the previously mentioned farmer exceptions, your employer is required to have coverage, however, some employers may break the law and not purchase the necessary workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

So, what can you do if you’re concerned your employer has no workers’ compensation insurance? How can you know if your current or potential employer has coverage in place?

Luckily, an online Employer Workers’ Compensation Insurance Verification search is available on the WCC website. There, you can enter the employer’s information to find out if they have current coverage. It’s important to note that not all employers might be listed, or the online database may not be up-to-date. That does not mean your employer doesn’t have coverage, and you or your lawyer can contact the WCC to find out more.

Understanding the ins and outs of workers’ compensation laws, policies, and coverage can be incredibly complex. If you have concerns about your current employer or if you need assistance filing a workers’ compensation claim, our legal team at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can help. The first conversation with us is always free, and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have about workers’ compensation in Maryland.



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