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What are an employer's workers' compensation responsibilities?

It is important for both employers and employees to understand health and safety rules help protect employees in all types of occupations. Specifically, if an employee is injured, depending on the circumstances of the injury, the employee might be entitled to benefits. There are obligations of employers related to workers' compensation coverage in North Carolina. Both employers and employees may, from time to time, wonder what an employer's workers' compensation responsibilities in North Carolina are.

According to the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act, all businesses that employ three or greater than three employees must obtain workers' compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers for the purposes of providing workers' compensation benefits to their employees.

Regardless of the business form, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations, all employers, subject to certain excepted categories, with three or more employees must provide workers' compensation insurance benefits to their employees. When determining the number of employees an employer has, the Industrial Commission will look to define employees according to the amount of control the employer exercises over the details of the employee's work.

Employers also have responsibilities when an injury or occupational illness has been reported by an employee. Employers must immediately report to their workers' compensation insurance carrier all injuries or occupational diseases reported or alleged by an employee that is suffered in the course of employment for which medical attention is needed or sought.

In addition, if the injury or illness will cause the employee to be absent from work for greater than a day, or involve medical expenses greater than $200,000, the employer has specific paperwork and reporting requirements that must be completed within five days of learning of the alleged injury or occupational illness.

Because the workers' compensation benefits system seeks to protect employees who are injured or suffer an occupational illness on the job, it is important that workers understand the obligations of their employers in a workers' compensation situation. The more workers know and understand about the workers' compensation process, the better protected they are.

Source: North Carolina Industrial Commission, "For Employers," Accessed May 5, 2015

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