Just like any other industry, architects with employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Employees who work at an architect’s firm may not be in as dangerous of an environment as construction workers (which account for 20.5% of all deaths in the private industry), but the law still requires the firm to have workers’ compensation insurance.
Here’s what architects need to know about workers’ comp.
Workers’ Comp Covers Most Medical Expenses
Workers’ compensation insurance will provide coverage for illness or injury acquired on the job, including hospital stays, diagnostic tests, rehabilitation and laboratory services.
Employees can be paid for work injuries, even if the injury was partially their fault.
If an injury occurs while employees are working within the scope of employment, they’re covered – even if they’re careless.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. Employees who are injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be covered. Also, employees cannot just injure themselves intentionally for the purpose of collecting benefits.
Employees May be Covered Even if They are Injured Outside of the Workplace
Although laws vary by state, employees are generally covered by workers’ comp even if they are injured outside of the workplace as long as they were acting within the scope of employment.
An employee may be injured at a hotel for business purposes, or while running an errand on behalf of the company. In both cases, the employees are likely covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Employees may also be covered if they are injured during a company-sponsored event, such as a company picnic or retreat.
But workers are not covered if they are injured while on a break, even if the injury occurs on company property.
Workers’ Comp is Required by Law
Laws vary by state, but workers’ compensation is generally required by all businesses – even if you only have one employee. It’s a common misconception that only large businesses need to have workers’ compensation insurance.
Coverage requirements may also depend on the type of business. In Missouri, for example, business only need to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have five or more employees. The only exception to this rule is companies in the construction industry, which are required to have this coverage even if they only have one employee.
Responsibility Doesn’t End When Workers’ Comp Has Been Paid
Many employers believe that their responsibility is through once the workers’ compensation has been paid, but it’s important to maintain close contact with injured employees during the recovery phase.
By staying in contact with the employee, you can gauge when he or she is ready to return to work.
Many firms also implement return-to-work programs, which can greatly reduce the number of days lost to illness or injury and increase productivity as a result.
Pre-Existing Conditions May be Covered
If the injury or illness was aggravated, caused or made worse by employment, the injury may still be considered compensable. Employees with pre-existing physical conditions are still covered if the employment worsened the condition.