Wisconsin Workers’ Comp 101

What do small business owners need to know about workers’ comp insurance in Wisconsin?

As an employer in Wisconsin, you need to know the specific workers’ compensation insurance laws that will affect your small business. Here are the basics to help you get started.

Top 10 facts about workers’ compensation in Wisconsin

  1. In 1911, Wisconsin became the first state to adopt workers’ compensation legislation in the U.S. Read the most recent version of the act.
  2. In Wisconsin, small business owners must have workers’ comp insurance if they employ three or more full-time or part-time employees.
  3. The state Work Injury Supplemental Fund pays benefits to individuals or dependents under four different benefit programs:
    • Supplemental benefits (Supplemental Benefit Fund)
    • Additional death benefit for children (Children’s Fund)
    • Pre-existing disability, indemnity benefits (Second Injury Fund)
    • Payment of certain barred claims (Barred Claims Fund)
  1. More than 65,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported among Wisconsin’s private industry employers in 2019.*  
  2. According to the most recent analysis, Wisconsin was among 20 states that had an incidence rate of total recordable cases (TRC) significantly higher than the national rate of 2.8.*
  3. The manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors accounted for 56% of reported occupational injuries and illnesses.*
  4. In 2019, there were 113 fatal work injuries in Wisconsin.*
  5. In the most recent report, transportation incidents resulted in 41 fatal work injuries, while falls, slips, and trips accounted for 23 fatalities.*
  6. In a recent two-year period, Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Uninsured Employer Fund (UEF) investigators assessed penalties on 4,193 employers for operating without workers’ compensation insurance.
  7. In that same two-year period, Wisconsin collected $9.5 million in penalties from employers who did not have required workers’ comp coverage.

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.

Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, you should refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workers’ compensation insurance or check your current rate in 3 minutes.

* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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