Restaurant Industry

What is Workers Compensation

This is the most valuable policy a business can purchase to protect the employee’s from injury and the employer from lawsuit. Most people think that general liability is the most important, and it is to prevent an external loss, but it does nothing to prevent the employer from a lawsuit involving an employee.

For a restaurant, workers compensation is a policy a business cannot afford to be without. The potential for injury is very high and therefore the need greater. Some examples are, If a customer spills a drink and a waitress slips and falls, a chef burns his hand on a hot pot, or food poisoning from sampling undercooked food.

Most states follow the same minimum requirements of $100,000 per occurrence, $500,000 aggregate, and $100,000 per occurrence by disease. What do these limits mean? For any one incident (or claim) the maximum payout is $100,000. The maximum payout for any one policy term, regardless of the number or type of claims, is $500,000. Most policy terms are one year. Finally, the max payout for any one incident caused by disease is $100,000. In many cases these limits are not enough and higher limits of $500,000 and $1,000,000 can be purchased.

Why Purchase workers Compensation

As a restaurant, you are required to carry workers compensation if you have four or more full or part time employees. Unlike many other types of insurance, workers compensation carries a large penalty for not being in compliance.

First, even if you have one employee you should have workers compensation. Whether it is required or not, an injury or claim without it can ruin and/or bankrupt a company. If an employee slips while walking in from the rain and breaks a leg. Sound a bit exaggerated? Unfortunately, I have seen this incident happen. With workers compensation you are protected, and so is your employee. Without it, you are facing a lawsuit and a potentially large payout. In addition, this can have a large impact on the company reputation and make finding help difficult.

Second, if your business is required by state law to carry workers compensation and you don’t the penalties can be horrific. The minimum fine a company is subject to is $1,000 and a stop work order until coverage is placed. The fine can be up to two times the employer would have paid in manual premiums for the preceding two years. Translation, workers compensation premiums for the business are $7,000 (and would have been that for the two years prior), yet the company did not carry any. Fines could then be $28,000!!!!

To Exempt or Not To Exempt

As a restaurant owner you may choose to exempt yourself from the workers compensation policy. The first thing to consider is your role in the business. Are you actively involved in the operations? If you get hurt, would you still be able to work or will it affect your income? If the answer to the previous two questions is yes, then exemption is probably not a good fit for you. The next topic we need to visit is how exemption applies and what rate will be used if you are included. Find the information below for your business.

  • Sole Proprietor & Partnership: Automatically exempt, no filing required. If you choose to be included it is at a rate of $42,400. If the IRS Schedule C is less than that number may be used.
  • LLC’s & Corporations: Officers of the Corporation and Managing Members of the LLC will be included in workers compensation unless an exemption to be excluded is filed with the state. If they choose to be included the minimum annual payroll is $41,600 and the maximum annual payroll is $124,800.

How Do I Purchase workers Compensation Insurance?

This is the easiest part, call Barbee Jackson Insurance! We have the ability to quote and bind coverage over the phone. If you are not able to call, inquire through our website and we can communicate through email.

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