Understanding Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Illinois workers’ compensation insurance, also known as workers’ comp insurance or workman’s comp, gives benefits to your employees if they get hurt or sick from their job. This coverage can help pay for your employee’s medical bills and replace most of their lost wages. However, Illinois workers’ compensation doesn’t provide benefits for an illness or injury resulting directly or indirectly from unknown causes.
In the Prairie State, business owners usually need to provide workers’ compensation insurance to employees. It’s estimated that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act covers over 91% of employees in the state.1
Without this coverage, your business could be liable for any loss related to your employees’ work-related injury or illness. And if you don’t have this insurance when it’s required, you can face expensive fines.
Benefits of Workers’ Comp in Illinois
Workers’ comp in Illinois includes many benefits to help your business and employees. Workers’ comp coverage can help your small business with:
Slips, trips or falls, like if an employee slips on a recently mopped floor and injures their leg.
Repetitive stress injuries, which can occur from repeated actions and overuse. Some common causes of repetitive stress injuries include:
- Lifting boxes
- Typing on a computer
- Using a ten-key machine
- Sitting for long hours
- Working on a production line
Some examples of repetitive stress injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Legal fees to help protect you and your business if an injured or sick worker’s family sues.
Illnesses from working with harmful chemicals or allergens in a poorly ventilated space.
Missed wages if your employee needs time off during working days while they recover from an injury or illness due to their job.
Ongoing care, such as physical therapy or more surgeries, to help treat a work-related injury or illness.
Funeral costs and death benefits for your employee’s family if they lose their life in a work-related accident or from an illness caused by their job.
Disability benefits if a work injury or illness is severe enough to cause a temporary or permanent disability to any body part.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws
Before you get workers’ compensation insurance, you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. A few things to remember with Illinois workers’ compensation laws:
- You generally need coverage, even if your employees are family members.
- Willingly and knowingly not getting coverage means you face a minimum fine of $10,000.2
- Employees must notify employers of an injury or illness within 45 days.
- Illinois’ Department of Employment Security publishes updated average weekly wages every six months.
What Is the Waiting Period for Workers’ Compensation in Illinois?
There is a three workday waiting period for workers’ compensation in Illinois.3 This means hurt or sick employees get benefits on the fourth day if they’re still hurt or sick.
If your employee misses two calendar weeks of work, they can receive pay for the workdays that they weren’t paid for during the initial waiting period. This benefit continues until the employee recovers.
The State of Illinois requires businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least one part- or full-time employee.4 Certain types of employees don’t need to have coverage and are excluded from state law, such as:5
- Sole proprietors
- Corporate officers
- Business partners
- Limited liability company (LLC) members
If you’re excluded, you’ll have to file a Workers’ Compensation Coverage Opt-Out Form with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation. Be aware you’ll still need to provide insurance for your employees.6
If you’re exempt but still want coverage, you can get it through a private insurance company, like The Hartford. Get a workers’ comp quote
today in Illinois.
How Does Workman’s Comp Work in Illinois?
If you receive a notice of injury from an employee, you should:7
- Provide necessary first aid treatment or medical services
- Notify your insurance carrier or workers’ comp administrator
- Provide temporary total disability payments if the employee can’t work more three days
- Ask the employee for additional information before payments can begin
- Give the employee a written letter explaining why they won’t receive benefits
If there’s a dispute, hearings are held before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. In Illinois, many workers’ compensation cases are overseen by arbitration. Arbitration helps resolve disputes about benefits or denied claims outside of a classroom. In these cases, both parties present evidence and the arbitrator makes a decision on the case. Either party can appeal these arbitration rulings.7
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Rates
As a business owner, you may be wondering, “How much is workman’s comp in Illinois?” Illinois workers’ comp rates vary between businesses. Insurers look at several factors, such as your:
- Claims history
- Type of work
A formula you can use to help estimate your business’ workers’ compensation insurance cost is:
Workers’ classification code X Experience Modification Number X (Payroll/$100) = Premium**
The National Council on Compensation determines classification codes, or class codes, based on the type of work employees do. An experience modification number relates to a company’s claims history.
One of the best ways to figure out your workers’ compensation cost is to get a workers’ comp quote
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claims
** This is a simplified calculation for educational purposes only. Actual premium calculations can be more complex. Experience modification numbers are subject to state requirements and do not apply to every policy.
1,2,4,5,6,7 Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, “Insurance”
3 Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, “Handbook on Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Diseases”