Who has to Carry Workers Compensation in Missouri?

In Missouri, Workers’ Compensation laws are designed to ensure that workers are protected in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses, and that employers have a clear framework for providing this coverage. Here’s a breakdown of who must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance in Missouri:

  1. General Requirement: Employers who employ five or more employees must provide Workers’ Compensation insurance for their employees.
  2. Construction Industry: For those involved in the construction industry, the rules are stricter. If an employer is in the construction sector, they must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance if they have one or more employees. The Missouri Department of Labor defines members of an LLC and officers of a corporation apply towards this employee count, sole proprietors and members of a partnership do not. 
  3. Exemptions: While the aforementioned rules cover most employers, there are specific exemptions:
    • Farm laborers: Farmers and farm labor are typically excluded from mandatory Workers’ Compensation.
    • Domestic workers: Those who employ domestic workers may not be required to provide coverage.
    • Some real estate agents and direct sellers: Given their often-independent contractor status, they might not be covered under typical employer mandates.
    • Volunteers: Individuals who work in a volunteer capacity are generally not considered employees, so they’re often exempt.
    • Certain religious sects or organizations: There may be exceptions for members of religious sects that are conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits from any insurance, provided they meet specific criteria outlined by the state.
  4. Out-of-State Employers: Employers from outside Missouri who have employees working in the state might need to obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance to cover those employees, especially if they work in Missouri on a consistent basis.
  5. Self-Insurance: Some larger companies might opt to self-insure, meaning they would pay for Workers’ Compensation claims out of their own pockets rather than purchasing insurance from a provider. To do this in Missouri, employers must obtain approval from the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation and meet certain financial criteria.
  6. Penalties for Non-compliance: Employers who fail to provide Workers’ Compensation insurance when required can face significant penalties, including fines and potential imprisonment. Moreover, they can be held liable for the full cost of injuries or illnesses, without the typical protections Workers’ Compensation laws provide against lawsuits.

It’s essential for employers to understand their obligations under Missouri law to ensure they are compliant and that their employees are appropriately protected. If there’s any doubt about whether an employer should provide Workers’ Compensation insurance in Missouri, consulting with a legal expert or the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation can provide clarity.

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