No employer or employee wants to deal with work-related injuries or illnesses, but sometimes, accidents happen. That’s why employers in Massachusetts are required to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. But this safeguard is not just designed to benefit the worker who was hurt; it often also provides critical legal protections for employers. In this blog, we’re digging deep into the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance by explaining what it covers and why your business must carry it.
Employees and Workers’ Compensation
In Massachusetts, if an employee sustains a work-related injury or illness, they are protected by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance plan. This insurance covers lost wages, medical treatment resulting from the injury or illness and rehabilitation services needed to help them recover and return to work.
There are many types of workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts. Here are the differences between each of them:
- Temporary total incapacity benefits. Employees who are unable to work for six or more days can receive 60 percent of their gross average weekly wage for 156 weeks. Payments start on the sixth day of disability, and the maximum an employee can receive is the state’s average weekly wage.
- Temporary partial incapacity benefits. Employees who can work but earn less due to their work-related injury or illness can receive 75 percent of their weekly total temporary benefits, which is 60 percent of their average weekly wage, for up to 260 weeks.
- Permanent and total incapacity benefits. Employees who cannot work at all can receive 66 percent of their gross average weekly wage, as well as a cost-of-living adjustment, for as long as they cannot work.
- Medical benefits. Employees who need medical attention due to their work-related injury or illness can receive full medical care, including mileage reimbursement for travel, as long as they need medical help.
- Scarring and permanent loss of function and disfigurement. Employees who have scarring, disfigurement or permanent loss of bodily functions from a work-related injury or illness can receive a one-time payment.
- Survivors’ and dependents’ benefits and burial costs. The spouse of an employee who dies from a work-related injury or illness can receive 66 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to the state maximum, as well as payment for burial costs and more. Children of the deceased can also receive some benefits, and spouses can continue getting benefits as long as they don’t remarry.
- Vocational rehabilitation. Injured employees can receive non-medical services, such as retraining or counseling, to help them return to work.
Employers and Workers’ Compensation
In addition to protecting employees, workers’ compensation policies usually also have a provision that protects the business itself. This is called employer’s liability insurance, and it is oftentimes part two of the workers’ compensation policy.
Employer’s liability insurance protects businesses that are sued for work-related injuries or illnesses that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation. There are limits on how much this liability policy pays out.
This liability insurance also protects businesses from legal action from third parties. For example, if an employee hurts themselves while using a certain piece of equipment, and the employee sues the equipment manufacturer, the employer is covered if the equipment manufacturer decides to sue them.
Workers’ compensation helps ensure that injured or ill employees get the care they need, which will help them get back to work faster. Injured employees who are covered under workers’ compensation insurance also cannot sue their employer for their injuries sustained on the job, adding a further layer of protection for businesses.
Protect Your Business with Us
Workers’ compensation insurance is essential to have as a business, but it can be confusing and failure to follow regulations can lead to costly fines and legal action. That’s why our team is here to work with you to make sure you have the appropriate coverage to meet state laws and protect your business and your employees. Reach out to us today to get started.