January 19, 2020

Workers Compensation Coverage Not Optional

who is an employee for workers compensation purposesWhat would you do if your employer asked you to accept a higher salary in exchange for “opting out” of the workers’ compensation system.  What would you say if a prospective employer offered you a job, but insisted that you classify yourself as an independent (1099) contractor so that payroll taxes would not have to be withheld and workers’ compensation insurance would not have to be provided?

Unfortunately for employers like this, workers’ compensation is not an optional coverage.  Under Georgia law, any employer who employs three or more full or part time employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance 1.

Generally, if the person or company you work for controls the time, manner and method of completing a final work product, you are considered an employee for workers’ compensation purposes.  Note that questions of employee vs. independent contractor for cases that involve the jurisdiction of the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation are not the same questions asked by the IRS when considering whether you would be subject to tax withholding (although there is some overlap). [Read more…]

  1. The State Board website offers this example: a regular part-time employee works regularly on a part time basis, such as employees who only work on weekends.