Most Chicago employers are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance to compensate employees who are injured on the job or suffer work-related illnesses. Employers who knowingly fail to maintain this insurance can receive a minimum fine of $10,000 and $500 per day without insurance. They also can be sued by employees because they lose the protections they would have had under the Worker’s Compensation Act. Corporate officers are not excluded from personal liability.
What Businesses are Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Even when a business has one part-time employee, it is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the employee. Business owners, sole proprietors, partners in partnerships, LLC members, and corporate officers do not need to be covered. However, an exception is made for owners of businesses that engage in occupations like construction that are extremely hazardous. Workers’ compensation insurance must cover these business owners.
Additional Employer Responsibilities Regarding Workers’ Compensation Insurance
An employer’s responsibility to his or her workers goes beyond maintaining workers’ compensation insurance. The employer must post a notice in the workplace in a visible location that explains worker’s compensation rights. This notice must provide the name and contact information of the employer’s insurance carrier along with the policy number. An employer cannot charge employees for workers’ compensation insurance.
The employer is required by law to keep records of all work-related injuries and to report injuries that cause an employee to miss more than three days of work to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. He or she may not harass, terminate, discriminate against or attempt to coerce any employee who exercises his or her right for workers’ compensation.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, all injuries that are caused by an employee’s work, including pre-existing conditions that are worsened by his or her work and work-related injuries that occur outside of the workplace are covered.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides the following benefits to injured employees:
- Compensation for medical and rehabilitative expenses
- Temporary total disability benefits that are equal to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly pay while recovering if unable to work
- Permanent total disability benefits if the employee loses the use of a part of his or her body
- Job retraining if the employee cannot return to his normal job