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The A-Z guide to Massachusetts Workers' Comp

How does Workers’ Comp Work in Massachusetts?

Any business with even a single employee is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Massachusetts. Domestic service workers are included if they work more than 15 hours each week. LLC members, partners, and sole proprietorships don’t have to have coverage but can choose to if they would like to. 

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Corporate officers need to be covered unless they own 25% or more of the business.

Who is exempt?

  • Commission-based workers, such as real estate agents
  • 1099 workers
  • Domestic workers who work fewer than 16 hours per week

Is workers’ compensation insurance required in Massachusetts?

Yes, Massachusetts requires that any business with even a single employee carry workers’ compensation insurance

Who is exempt from Massachusetts workers’ comp requirements?

Commission-based workers such as real estate agents, 1099 workers, federal employees, and some domestic workers can be exempt from the requirements.

Do you need workers’ compensation coverage if you’re self-employed?

The following don’t need to be covered by a policy. Sole proprietors (no employees in the business), Partners in limited liability partnerships and LLC members.

Note that Massachusetts differs from some states. In MA, corporate officers count as employees and are required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. They cannot exempt themselves unless they own at least 25% of the business.

How much is workers’ comp coverage in Massachusetts?

Your Massachusetts workers’ comp rate will depend on the following factors:

  • The type of business you have
  • The size of your payroll
  • Your safety record
  • Claim history
workers comp policy cost

How can Massachusetts small business owners save money on workers' comp?

Complying with your state’s workers’ compensation insurance laws does not have to mean breaking the bank. Small business owners in Massachusetts can reduce their policy costs in several important ways, including:

How does workers’ compensation work in MA?

Worker’s compensation is relatively easy to understand. First, you’ll need to purchase a policy. Your premium will be based on an estimate of your upcoming annual payroll. 

Once you pay the premium, you’re covered for a year. At the end of the year, you’ll have an audit to make sure you didn’t over or underpay. 

If you overpaid, you’ll get a refund. If you underpaid, you’ll be billed for the overage.

What does workers’ comp cover in Massachusetts?

Workers who file a workers' comp claim in Massachusetts can receive benefits for the following:

workers comp covers medical bills

Medical bills

workers comp covers lost wages

Lost Wages

Workers' comp coverage also protects employers from legal action. This means that if an employee sues your business because of a workplace injury, the insurance will cover the legal costs of the case.

How do business owners purchase workers’ comp insurance in Massachusetts?

Low and standard-risk businesses can purchase workers’ compensation insurance from private insurance companies. At Kickstand, we can help you find a policy that works for your needs.

If your business is high-risk, you may not be able to obtain insurance from a private insurance company. You’ll need to buy from the assigned risk market, through the state’s Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau

The final option is to self-insure. This is really only suitable for large firms because your business will pay out of pocket for all worker claims, rather than having an insurance company do it. 

Businesses must have no fewer than 300 employees, at least $750,000 in standard worker’s compensation premiums, and enough money to cover self-insurance costs.

What happens if I don’t have workers’ comp insurance in MA?

Like many other states, Massachusetts has very strict penalties for businesses that fail to uphold their legal responsibilities. You may be ordered to stop work until insurance coverage is purchased. 

You may be fined $100 per day until such coverage is provided. You will also be unable to compete for public contracts until the situation is rectified. If you choose to appeal the stop work order, you can continue operating but will be fined $250 per day.

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What are the workers’ comp death benefits in Massachusetts?

Workers’ comp insurance pays benefits to the family of an employee who dies of a work-related injury or illness.

  • Spouses (who were living with the employee at the time of their death) are eligible to receive up to 66% of the employee’s average weekly earnings.
  • Spouses can qualify for cost of living adjustments, but only two years after the employee’s death.
  • Children under 18 and those under 24 if they are full-time students qualify for benefits.

How do workers’ comp settlements work in Massachusetts?

Workers’ comp settlements are relatively common. They can benefit the employee and the employer, but they do involve the employee signing away any future right involving the claim in question in exchange for a lump sum payment. 

All workers’ comp settlements must be approved by a judge within the state’s Department of Industrial Accidents.

What are the statutes of limitation regarding workers’ comp in MA?

Employees have four years to file a workers’ comp claim from the date of their injury or becoming aware of their illness.

How does the workers’ comp claims process work?

An employee must report their injury or illness to their employer. Once this happens, the employer reports it to their insurance company and the state’s Department of Industrial Accidents. A third copy of this form (Form 101) will be given to the employee. 

The insurance company and employer will investigate the situation and decide whether to dispute it or not. Only 50% of claims are disputed in Massachusetts. The insurance company has 14 days from the day the form arrives to investigate and file a dispute.

How do I get a workers’ comp insurance policy with Kickstand Insurance?

Start by filling out a short online form about your business. We’ll use that info to get you an estimated quote. Then, one of our experienced agents will contact you to review the quote and make sure you are getting the absolutely lowest rate possible for your business. Once the quote is finalized, you’re ready to buy the policy - often with coverage starting that day!

Learn more about Workers' Comp in Massachusetts

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  • Avoid surprise bills at audit
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