Workers’ Compensation: Basics of Coverage
Q.: Who are covered “employers” for purposes of workers’ compensation?
A.: The workers’ compensation statutes define “employer” broadly to include
every person, firm or corporation which employs one or more employees under
a contract of hire, whether that contract is oral or written. All such employers
are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. An application for
coverage may be obtained from any local Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
(“BWC”) service office.
Q.: Who are covered “employees” for purposes of workers’ compensation?
A.: “Employees” are equally broadly defined to include any person in the
service of any person, firm or corporation. An “employee” for workers’
compensation purposes also includes household workers who earn $160 or more
in any calendar quarter.
Q.: Are independent contractors “employees” for workers’ compensation purposes?
A.: No. Independent contractors are responsible for obtaining their own
workers’ compensation coverage. An employer must be careful, however, to
ensure that persons performing work for them are truly independent contractors
before relying upon this exception. In general, the question of whether someone
is an independent contractor involves a case-by-case determination focusing on
which party had the right to direct and control the work (i.e., manner/details of
work, hours of employment, method of payment, etc.).
Q.: What insurance is required? What is available (e.g., private carriers, state fund,
assigned risk pools, etc.)?
A.: Ohio is a “monopoly” state, meaning that private insurance is not permitted
for workers’ compensation. All employers must either participate in the state
insurance fund or be self-insured. The privilege of self-insurance is restricted to
employers having more than 500 employees, who have done business in Ohio
for more than two years, and who can demonstrate to the administrator of the