While the majority of workers employed in the U. S. are lawfully required to have workers' compensation coverage, certain employees can elect to exempt themselves from workers' compensation coverage. Exemptions are typically desired by business owners who want to lower their company's workers' compensation insurance premium. This exemption excludes the employee from workers' compensation benefits. Only certain individuals within an organization are allowed to file for and obtain workers' compensation exemption, while other employees are exempt from workers' compensation coverage by the nature of their work.

Employees eligible for workers' compensation exemption

Workers' compensation laws vary from state to state, so the rules about the types of employees who may obtain workers' compensation exemption also differ. Typical examples of exempt employees include:

  • Officers or directors of corporations registered with a state
  • Construction industry officers who own more than 10 percent of the corporate stock
  • Sole proprietors
  • Casual employees who work at irregular intervals
  • Household domestic service employees
  • Employees of family members dwelling in the same household
  • Real estate brokers and salespeople working solely on commission
  • Employees covered under Federal Workers' Compensation Laws

Electing to obtain workers' compensation exemption

Anyone trying to obtain a workers' compensation exemption must go through his or her state's screening process. In most cases this involves filling out a form that asks for information on the employee and the company. The state typically requires proof of up-to-date business licenses, proof of ownership, and contact information on the company's workers' compensation insurance carrier. The form and required documents are then filed with the nearest workers' compensation district office.

Additional resources:

WorkersCompensation.com: Workers' compensation resources for employers

WorkersCompensation.com: Workers' compensation resources for employees