Foundry Law Group Blog

Workers Compensation for Business Owners

The University of Washington Business and Economic Development Center is currently offering a business certificate program for local business owners. I enrolled in the program and although I do have a business background I have found it very valuable.  Last week the instructors were from the Department of Labor and Industries. They spoke in great detail about workers compensation including how to apply, how to make a claim, what to do if you receive a claim as an employer, etc. One specific topic that I found very interesting and would like to share with you is Workers Compensation benefits available for business owners.  The State of Washington allows business owners (i.e. Sole Proprietors; LLC Members; Owners of Corporation) the option to open an account with the Department of Licensing and purchase workers compensation insurance which in short covers approved medical, hospital, and related services due to workplace injuries AND compensation for those who are temporarily unable to work full time.

Key items to note before submitting your application.

1. How do they define Business Owner for purposes of applying for elective coverage:

  • Sole Proprietor or Partner in Business
  • Members of a Limited Liability Company (if they manage the LLC and there are no Managers)
  • Managers of a Limited Liability Company who are also Members and exercise substantial control over the daily activities of the Company.  Note: Only 8 managers may be exempted.
  • Corporate Officers of a Corporation can also apply if they meet the following requirements:
    • Non Public Corporation: Must be a Corporate Officer (elected in accordance with the ByLaws and Articles of Incorporation of the Corporation) and a Shareholder AND have substantial control over the daily management of the Corporation. (Note: Maximum is 8 officers)
    • Public Corporation: Same as Non-Public PLUS you must also be a Director and cannot perform manual labor.
    • Primary duties do not include manual labor.

2.  REPORTING REQUIREMENTS- The Department of Labor and Industries requires that you (business owner) report the following:

  • Hours worked by the Business Owner (or Officer) in the classification assigned to your business that is applicable to the work being performed by the Business Owner (or Officer).
  • Report and pay premiums for 480 hours or actual hours worked each quarter for each covered owner (or officer) and in the applicable workers compensation classification code.

If you are wondering why as a business owner you would even want workers compensation coverage? Here are three reasons to consider it:

1. Availability. It is actually available to you in the State of Washington. Its a program run and controlled by the State of Washington.

2. Affordability. Its not that expensive. For those of us who are not in jobs that carry a high risk of injury the premium is fairly low.  Check out the base rate tables for more information.

3. Security.  As a Business Owner especially those of us who are solos we wear many hats and if we were to get injured on the job what would happen to the business?? Well wouldn’t it be nice to have a little extra money coming in to cover medical cost and some time off while you recover? I think so.

Click here to download to the application- Its only 2 pages!

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