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DWC employer information
Workers' compensation is the nation's oldest social insurance program: It was adopted in most states, including California, during the second decade of the 20th century. The workers' compensation system is based on a trade-off between employers and employees. Employees are entitled to receive prompt, effective medical treatment for on-the-job injuries or illnesses no matter who is at fault and, in return, are prevented from suing employers over those injuries.
As a result, California employers are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance, even if they have only one employee. And, if your employees get hurt or sick because of work, you are required to pay for workers' compensation benefits. Workers' comp insurance provides basic benefits, including medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits and a return-to-work supplement, and death benefits.
The vast majority of workers' compensation claims are resolved without any problems. However, sometimes a disagreement can arise between you and your employee over issues such as whether the injury was sustained on the job or how much in benefits they are entitled to receive.
When a dispute like that arises, the Division of Workers' Compensation can help resolve it through its Information and Assistance Unit or by going before a judge at one of the division's 22 local district offices plus satellites.
Please be advised that if you are a roofer and don't have any employees, you are still required to carry workers' compensation insurance.
If you are an out-of-state employer you may need workers' compensation coverage if you have any employees regularly working in California, or if you enter into a contract of employment here.Topics on this page include: General information
Medical treatment information
Retraining and return to work information
Frequently asked questions for employers
Educational conference - DWC holds the largest workers’ compensation educational conference in the state at sites in Northern and Southern California. Speakers from the division and the private sector will address the most current topics and issues confronting claims administrators, attorneys, medical providers, rehabilitation counselors, and others involved in workers’ compensation.
Workers' compensation benefits - Overview of benefits, including currents rates, available for injured workers.
Time of hire pamphlet
Un folleto para el nuevo empleado
Preventing Psychiatric Injuries
Basic facts on workers' compensation for employers
Principios fundamentales de la compensación de trabajadores para empleadores
Simplified flow chart for claims process
More workers' compensation topics
Reporting suspected medical care provider fraud
Workers' compensation reference materials
Libros de referencia de compensacion de trabajadores
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Medical treatment information
Doctors in California's workers' compensation system are required to provide evidence-based medical treatment. That means they must choose treatments scientifically proven to cure or relieve work-related injuries and illnesses. Those treatments are laid out in a set of guidelines that provide details on which treatments are effective for certain injuries, as well as how often the treatment should be given (frequency), the extent of the treatment (intensity), and for how long (duration), among other things.
To comply with the evidence-based medical treatment requirement, the state of California has adopted a medical treatment utilization schedule (MTUS). The MTUS includes specific body regions guidelines adopted from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine's (ACOEM) Practice Guidelines, plus guidelines for acupuncture, chronic pain, and therapy after surgery. The Division of Workers' Compensation also has a committee that continuously evaluates new medical evidence about treatments and incorporates that evidence into its guidelines.
Copies of the ACOEM guidelines are available for review at your local DWC district office. Other guidelines not adopted from ACOEM can be reviewed and downloaded from the DWC Web site.
Copies may also be obtained from:
Division of Workers' Compensation
Medical Unit P.O. Box 71010
Oakland, CA 94612-1486
Additionally, you, or the claims administrator representing you, are required to have a program called utilization review (UR), which basically provides a way to double check that the doctor's treatment plan for your employee is sound. Check out our fact sheets and guides page and click on Fact Sheet A for more information on UR.
For injuries on or after Jan. 1, 2013, and as of July 1, 2013 for all dates of injury, if UR has delayed, denied or modified a treating physician’s request for a specific course of treatment and the injured employee disagrees with the UR decision, the dispute can only be resolved through a process called independent medical review (IMR).
If your claims administrator has established a medical provider network (MPN) or a health care organization (HCO), your employees' work injuries and illnesses will be treated by a doctor in the network. These networks of doctors are similar to health maintenance organizations (HMOs). If your employees qualified to pre-designate a personal physician and did so prior to being injured they can go to their regular doctor for their workers' compensation care.
California Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Small Business
Most business owners in California need workers’ compensation insurance. Learn about coverage requirements and compare quotes from top carriers with Insureon.
California workers’ compensation insurance
Workers' compensation insurance covers the cost of work-related injuries. It's required for all California businesses that have employees.
Who needs workers’ comp insurance in California?
Every state has different requirements for workers’ compensation insurance. In California, workers’ compensation is mandatory for all employers, even if the company only has one employee.
California law requires a business owner to carry workers’ comp insurance for employees who regularly work in California, even if the business is headquartered in another state.
Do you need workers’ compensation if you are self-employed?
Sole proprietors and independent contractors should strongly consider buying workers' comp even when it's not required. If you get injured on the job, this policy can help pay your medical expenses and provide part of the wages you lose while recovering.
Your personal health insurance provider might deny a claim if your injury is related to your work, which would leave you paying these bills on your own.
Roofers and others in a hazardous line of work may be required to carry workers’ comp, even if they don’t employ anyone else.
Whether or not you’re able to get workers’ compensation depends on the type of business and the ownership structure. Regardless, if you’re self-employed, it’s a good idea to check with the California Department of Industrial Relations to determine what your rights and liabilities are so that you can be sure that you’re properly insured.
Is workers’ comp required for part-time employees?
How many hours an employee works does not affect their entitlement to workers’ compensation. It’s possible to get an independent contractor workers’ compensation waiver, but California law presumes anyone who works for an employer to be an employee.
If a claim is filed, the burden is on the employer to prove that someone is an independent contractor and not an employee.
How much does workers' compensation insurance cost in California?
Estimated employer rates for workers’ compensation in California are $1.61 per $100 in covered payroll. Your cost is based on a number of factors, including:
Your workers' comp cost is calculated based on a few factors, including:
Payroll Location Number of employees
Industry and risk factors
Coverage limits Claims history
How do you buy workers' compensation insurance in California?
There are three ways to buy a workers' comp policy in California:You can buy it from a private insurance carrier. With Insureon, you can submit an easy online application to compare quotes from top-rated insurers.You can buy it from the state fund. California has a competitive state fund for workers' compensation: StateFund First.You can self-insure your business. Employers who meet certain requirements, including at least three years in business, can apply to the Office of Self-Insurance Plans (OSIP) for approval.
How does workers’ comp work in California?
Employers and employees are both protected by workers’ compensation settlements. California has created laws to streamline the process of making sure that an injured worker can quickly receive benefits, while the employer is protected from lengthy and expensive litigation and lost productivity.
Policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which can help cover legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer if they accept workers' comp benefits.
California law requires coverage to provide basic workers' compensation benefits for:
Temporary disability benefits
Permanent disability benefits
Supplemental job displacement benefits
Often, the employer, employee, and workers’ comp insurer can reach an agreement without difficulty. However, the California DWC Information and Assistance Unit can help settle disputes and guide the parties through litigation if an issue cannot be resolved any other way.
The California Department of Industrial Relations regulates workers’ comp insurance. California employers and workers can find resources for all aspects of workers’ compensation claims and laws through the agency’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
What are the penalties for not having workers' comp insurance?
Failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance in California is a criminal offense. The penalties include:
A stop order is typically issued to the business, violation of which could result in a fine of $10,000 or more and imprisonment in county jail for up to one year.
The Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund could file a lien against an employer’s property if it needs to pay benefits to an injured worker of an illegally uninsured employer.
A penalty assessed by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement could be twice the amount the employer would have paid in premiums during the time of uninsurance or $1,500 per employee during the period of uninsurance.
If a worker is injured and the employer did not have workers’ comp, the employer could be liable for a penalty of $10,000 per employee at the time of injury if the case is compensable, or $2,000 per employee at the time of injury if that particular case was found to be non-compensable. The maximum penalty is $100,000.
Workers' Compensation Insurance for Small Business
Workers' compensation insurance protects small businesses and employees when workplace injuries or illnesses occur. Contact us today to get a free quote!
California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guide
Workers’ compensation insurance is important coverage that is required of all businesses that have employees in order to protect them from work-related injuries or illnesses. Learn more about California workers’ compensation insurance works, obtaining coverage, and whether or not you need workers’ compensation insurance for your business.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a form of insurance that provides protection in case of accidents involving work-related injuries or illness. In the event that an employee is injured or falls ill on the job, workers’ compensation insurance provides the employee with necessary medical benefits and lost wages. If an employee is killed on the job, this insurance also covers death benefits for the family. Workers’ compensation insurance relies on a social contract between an employer and its workers. In exchange for offering this coverage, workers in many states can’t file a suit against the employer if injured or made ill during the course of their job.
What Does California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
Workers’ compensation covers:
A portion of lost wages
For the benefit of employers, workers’ compensation insurance policies often also include employer’s liability insurance that will cover attorney’s fees, court costs, and settlement fees should an employee file a suit against the employer. This makes workers’ compensation a critical coverage to have. For fuller coverage in the event of workplace accidents, general liability insurance is also recommended.
Pay-As-You-Go Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance programs eliminate the need for businesses to post large upfront deposits for their workers’ comp policies, among other key benefits. To take advantage of this program for our clients, Surety First has partnered with Thimble to package workers’ comp, payroll administration, and general liability insurance, if requested, into a single, simplified monthly bill.
Does California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover COVID-19?
For an illness to be covered by workers’ compensation, it must be proven to have arisen out of and in the course of employment. There are certain instances when COVID-19 could meet this requirement, including:
If there is a direct connection between the job and illness
The illness can be reliably traced to employment as the cause
The illness does not arise from a condition workers would have been exposed to outside of employment
Learn more about how COVID-19 relates to workers’ compensation insurance.
Is Workers’ Comp Required in California?
In most states, including California, workers’ compensation coverage is required for any business that has non-owner employees from the start date of the first employee. California workers’ compensation insurance coverage is required for any business that has non-owner employees from the start date of the first employee. This is a common requirement for most states to protect businesses and employees. In some states, coverage is not required until a business has multiple employees. Businesses that do not provide this coverage in required states can face costly consequences, including having to pay for claims out of pocket, fines, imprisonment, and loss of the right to conduct business in the state.
Is Workers’ Comp Insurance for Small Businesses in California Worth It?
Small businesses can greatly benefit from workers’ compensation insurance. Since small businesses are typically more financially vulnerable than larger businesses, the consequences of a claim can have a great impact. Without coverage, a small business will have to pay for any fees that result from the claim out of pocket, which could be detrimental to a small company.
Does a Small Business Need Workers’ Comp for Only One Employee?
In California, the penalty for not providing workers’ compensation for all employees includes a fine of no less than $10,000 and up to $100,000, one year in jail, or both. Requirements vary by state but for most states, coverage is expected by law upon hiring the first employee.
Do I Need Coverage for Contract Workers?
Workers’ compensation insurance benefits are generally for W2 employees. Independent contractors typically do not qualify for benefits. Your insurance provider can help you understand state laws and coverage specifics for your business.
How Does Workers’ Comp Insurance Work?
If injured or fallen ill on the job, an employee must immediately visit a healthcare professional who will provide any necessary medical reports to support the claim. With the proper paperwork, the employee can then file the claim with the insurance provider. Once the claim is approved, the employee will begin receiving coverage benefits.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in California?
The cost of workers’ compensation depends on several factors, including:
Payroll Location Number of employees Industry and risk Coverage limits Claims history
Note that businesses with a claims history are typically charged with higher premiums.