Vermont workers’ comp 101
Ninety nine percent of businesses in Vermont are classified as small businesses. It’s no wonder, with its abundance of family dairy farms and arguably the best maple syrup in the U.S., that Vermont small businesses employ over 150,000 workers. If you’re a small business owner in Vermont, you may want to look into a variety of insurance policies that can help protect you from costly liabilities. One coverage you can’t go without, however, is workers’ compensation insurance.
The state of Vermont requires all employers to carry workers’ comp insurance, in an attempt at nearly-universal workers’ comp coverage in Vermont. This means there are only a few specific exceptions (sole proprietors and owners/members of an LLC for example)—otherwise, most companies are ineligible for a workers’ comp insurance exemption in Vermont.
10 facts about Vermont workers’ comp insurance
If you’re looking for the basic facts on workers’ comp in Vermont to help understand how your small business is impacted and benefited by the coverage, we’ve compiled these 10 quick points to get you started.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is required for almost every business in Vermont that employs even one person, even part-time.
- There are some specific exceptions to the law, and businesses who believe they are exempt from offering workers’ comp in Vermont can file an application for exemption.
- Unlike many states, workers’ comp insurance in Vermont is overseen by two separate state agencies: The Department of Financial Regulation – Insurance Division and the Department of Labor.
- Workers’ compensation insurance in Vermont provides a no-fault mechanism for injured employees to be compensated for work-related accidents and injuries, permanent impairment resulting from a work injury, vocational rehabilitation services, and death benefits.
- Having a workers’ comp policy protects Vermont employers from civil lawsuits, and legal fees to defend themselves in such suits, in exchange for providing benefits to covered employees.
- In Vermont, the burden of proof for a workers’ compensation insurance claim falls on the employee. The employee’s statement isn’t sufficient. Employees must provide evidence to prove their injury or condition was work-related, and the employer has the ability to provide evidence to the contrary.
- Vermont workers’ compensation law dictates that employees may be compensated for workplace injuries that aggravate or worsen a pre-existing (non-work-related) injury or condition.
- Being intoxicated or intentionally refusing to use provided safety equipment can be grounds for denial of workers’ compensation claims in Vermont.
- Once notified of an injury, Vermont employers have only 72 hours in which to file a claim with their workers’ comp insurance carrier, or alternately with the Vermont Department of Labor.
- Penalties to small business owners in Vermont who should be carrying workers’ compensation insurance but are not can span from fines to being charged with a misdemeanor, a felony, or even serving prison time.
Finally, if you’re exempt from needing workers’ comp insurance, it’s recommended you get it anyway. It’s generally a good idea to have it, especially if you face a work-related illness or injury that health insurance may not cover.
Remember, every situation is different and state workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.
Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about the basics of workers’ comp or check your current rate in 3 minutes.