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California Employer Responsibilities & Workers' Comp

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What Is The California Law On Workers’ Compensation Coverage Requirements?

The California Labor Code requires that every employer who has one or more employees, whether full-time or part-time, must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This includes all private employers, as well as public entities, and the coverage must be in place as soon as the first employee is hired. [1] 

Employers who fail to provide workers’ compensation coverage in California can face severe penalties, including fines, and even criminal prosecution. They can be held financially responsible for any medical expenses and lost wages incurred by an employee due to a work-related injury or illness.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Coverage Requirements?

In California, there are several exceptions to workers’ compensation coverage. Some common exceptions include:

  • Sole Proprietors and Partners: Sole proprietors and partners in a business are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for themselves but may choose to do so.
  • Executive Officers: Executive officers or directors of a corporation can elect to be excluded from workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Independent Contractors: Independent contractors are generally not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, although there can be disputes about whether a worker is misclassified as an independent contractor.

The rules and exceptions for workers’ compensation coverage can be complex, and the specifics may vary depending on the nature of the work and the industry. Consult with our attorneys for detailed guidance on workers’ compensation exceptions in California.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Coverage Requirements?

How Does The Employer Obtain Coverage?

The most common method is to work with an insurance broker who can help the employer find the right coverage for his specific needs.

The employer can also choose to work directly with an insurance company. This can be done by contacting various insurance providers and comparing their offerings to find the best fit for the company’s budget and employee needs.

Many industry organizations offer group insurance plans that are designed specifically for their members. By joining such an association, the employer can provide his employees with access to a variety of insurance options at competitive rates.

What Are Other Employer Requirements?

After enrolling in the workers’ compensation insurance program, employers are required to maintain employee records. The records that an employer must keep include the following:

  • Sole Proprietors and Partners:
  • All records of employment
  • Amount of taxes deducted from salary
  • Business records including finances
  • Contracts for the employees
  • Proof of insurance policy
  • Salaries and W2 statements
  • Status of employment of all workers
  • Workers’ compensation certificates

The employer is required to retain these records for a minimum of three calendar years. The employer is responsible for documenting all employee injuries, disability, and deaths.

The employer is required to display a notice stating that the employees have a workers’ insurance policy that is compliant with state law. The statement should include the name and address of the insurance carrier, the policy’s expiration date, and instructions on how to contact the Department of Financial Services. The statement should also include information on the necessary steps for employees to take if they sustain an injury. [2]

The employer is required to report any injury that requires medical attention within 7 days of the injury. The employer is required to report any work-related death to the CDWC within 24 hours of the incident.

What Are Other Employer Requirements?

Contact Goldberg & Loren today for a free consultation and take the first step towards finding a solution related to your workers’ compensation needs.


[1] Information, D. O. W. C. I. W. (n.d.). DWC FAQs for employees. https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/wcfaqiw.html

[2] Llc, C. C. I. S. (n.d.). California Workers’ Compensation Employer Requirements | WorkCompOne. https://www.workcompone.com/workers-compensation-insurance/states/california/employer-requirements

George Goldberg

If your employer is failing to provide workers' compensation coverage in California, our team of skilled lawyers is available to provide assistance. Feel free to contact us today for the answers you need.

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