Restaurant Workers’ Comp Class Codes: A Guide

a restaurant owner taking note of his employees' class codes
By: 
Mordechai Kamenetsky
Last Updated: 
May 28, 2024
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Workers' compensation insurance protects restaurant owners from potential lawsuits and provides financial assistance to their employees in case of work-related injuries or illnesses. Understanding the various restaurant workers’ comp class codes ensures that your business is covered adequately and avoids any surprises when it comes to your insurance rates.

What are Class Codes and why are they important?

As a restaurant owner or manager, you might have come across the term "class codes" when dealing with workers' compensation insurance. 

Class codes are four-digit numbers assigned to various job roles, industries, and business types. They're like barcodes that easily reference information related to specific job roles. These codes are designed and maintained by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI)

In restaurant workers' compensation insurance, class codes help insurance companies –  

  • Understand your business: They categorize the scope of the job roles. 
  • Estimate risk: They assess the risk level for different job roles.
  • Set Insurance rates: They help determine how much your insurance will cost.

How are Class Codes determined?

Each class code has 3 parts which the NCCI manages. 

  1. 4 digit class code
  2. Description of the class code 
  3. Risk rate

This risk rate is a number that represents the likelihood of serious injury or illness from that job. It helps insurance companies figure out how risky it is to insure each job role so they can figure out how much the insurance premium should be.

The class code and description do not change but the risk number can change on a yearly basis. The NCCI analyzes all the injuries for each industry in each state and calculates if there were more or less injuries than the previous years. This type of fluctuation can make the risk rate increase or decrease.

Common Class Codes for Restaurant Employees

Most states use one of the following 3 class codes for restaurant employees:

Class Code 9082

Class code 9082, also known as Restaurant NOC (Not Otherwise Classified), is the code that is used for most restaurants unless another code describes them better. 

These eateries typically have wait service along with a good-sized seating area. Examples include a cookie or donut shop, pizza shop, sandwich shop, concession stand, event caterer, all with wait staff.

Kickstand Note
Kickstand Note

If your restaurant makes more than 50% of its income from alcohol, the classification code will be 9084. This might apply to a tavern that serves food but makes most of its income from alcohol sales. 

Class Code 9083

Class code 9083 refers to Fast Food establishments, which applies to fast-food restaurants that don't have wait staff. Some examples include pizza shops, sandwich shops, concession stands, cybercafes, or caterers who specialize in prepackaged meals.

Class Code 9084

Class code 9084 is designated for Bars, Discos, Lounges, and other similar establishments. This code would apply to locations that make at least 50% of their money through the sale of alcohol. Typical examples are night clubs or taverns.

Kickstand Note
Kickstand Note

If these venues make less than 50% of their income from alcohol sales, then the code would be 9082.

State-Specific Restaurant Class Codes 

Some states use different class codes than the industry class codes recommended by the NCCI. 

Here are a few examples of state-specific codes:

Class Code 9079 - Texas, New Jersey, California, and Michigan

In Texas, New Jersey, California, and Michigan, all restaurants use class code 9079. This code applies to all types of restaurants, whether they serve alcohol or not, and whether they offer table service or fast food.

Class Code 9071 - New York

In New York, class code 9071 is for non-alcoholic restaurants with table service that don't fit into the other specific categories below.

Class Code 9072 - New York

Class code 9072 in New York is for cafes and casual dining places that do light cooking.

Class Code 9074 - New York

Restaurants in New York that make 30% or more of their money from alcohol use class code 9074. New York does not separate fast food from other restaurants for workers' compensation codes.

Class Code 0975 - Pennsylvania and Delaware

In Pennsylvania and Delaware, class code 0975 is for all restaurants, even those with bars.

Class Code 0897 - Pennsylvania and Delaware

The code 0897 is used in Pennsylvania and Delaware is for casual diners and fast food places.

Class Code 0899 -  Pennsylvania and Delaware

In Pennsylvania and Delaware, class code 0899 is used specifically for bars, discotheques, lounges, nightclubs, or taverns.

Non-Industry Class Codes

Restaurant owners can use different codes for employees in non-industry specific roles to save on workers’ comp costs. For example, you can use code 8810 for a finance/bookkeeper role. This will save you money because this code typically has lower rates than restaurant industry codes.

Kickstand Tip
Kickstand Tip

We often get asked if delivery drivers can be classified separately from restaurant employees, but they can't—they're treated the same.

Offering delivery can increase your costs and make it harder to get insurance. To avoid these higher expenses, consider using third-party services like DoorDash or UberEats instead of hiring your own drivers. This can help keep your workers' compensation costs down.

How do Class Codes affect Insurance Rates?

Class codes indicate how risky a specific job is. Insurance companies use these rates to calculate the cost of a workers' compensation policy. Jobs with higher risks will have more expensive policies to cover those potential injuries.

To see how these rates vary, let's look at the workers' compensation rates for different class codes in several states. The charts below show the differences in rates for Class Codes 9082, 9083, and 9084. Each state has its own rates based on unique risks and rules.

Class Code 9082

The average workers' compensation rate for Class Code 9082 is $1.06.

Class Code 9083

The average workers' compensation rate for Class Code 9083 is $1.03.

Class Code 9084

The average workers' compensation rate for Class Code 9084 is $1.12.

Curious about how these rates translate into costs for your business? Check out this Guide to Workers’ Comp Rates for more details. 

Tips to ensure your Class Codes are correct

To make sure your restaurant has the right insurance coverage, it's important to classify your employees accurately based on their job duties. Misclassification can lead to underinsurance and put your business at risk if a claim is made.

Keep in mind that your workers' comp classification will be checked during your annual workers' comp audit.

Here are some simple tips to help:

  • Review job duties: Look at what each employee does and determine the correct class code for their role.
  • Stay updated: Keep up with changes to class codes for restaurants, as they can change over time.
  • Work with your Insurance agent: Work closely with your insurance agent to get the classifications right and avoid penalties for mistakes.

Get the right Coverage with accurate Class Codes

Using the right class codes is important to make sure your restaurant has the appropriate workers' compensation coverage. Misclassifying your employees can lead to higher premiums or insufficient coverage, putting your business at risk.

If you still have questions about which class code your business belongs to, start an instant quote to begin a conversation with an agent or call us at 886-338-8823. We specialize in providing workers’ compensation to restaurants and we can help you get the coverage you need to protect your business and your employees.

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Note: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal or insurance advice. Laws and regulations regarding workers' compensation insurance are complex and vary by state and by specific circumstances. Therefore, readers are encouraged to consult with a qualified legal or insurance professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem they might have.

Mordechai Kamenetsky

Mordechai Kamenetsky, co-founder and lead agent of Kickstand, is recognized as an expert in workers' compensation. He is passionate about helping small businesses manage risks and lower their workers' comp costs. In his articles, he educates readers and clients on the intricacies of workers' comp insurance.

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