FAQs for Employers

What is workers compensation insurance?
It is an insurance policy that is provided by the employer (by law) to pay employee benefits for job-related injuries, disability or death. Benefits are paid at the employer's expense and coverage begins on the first day on the job. More information available here.

Who is considered an employee under Kansas statutes?
Under the definition of K.S.A. 44-508(b), a 'Workman' or 'Employee' or 'worker' means any person who has entered into the employment of or works under any contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer." The technical definition is quite broad and lengthy and includes all employees whether or not they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, adults, minors or others who have been hired to do certain jobs. The critical test in determining whether or not someone is an employee is the degree of control the employer exercises over the worker.

Do all employers have to carry workers compensation on their employees?
The present law (see K.S.A. 44-505) covers all Kansas employers except for those in certain agricultural pursuits or those with a gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less. All payroll is taken into account, including that paid outside Kansas. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll.

Per K.A.R. 51-11-6, the provision in K.S.A. 44-505 excluding the payroll of workers who are members of the employer’s family does not apply to corporate employers. A corporate employer’s total payroll is included for the purpose of determining whether the employer is subject to the workers compensation act.

Which Kansas employers are excluded from workers compensation?
Employment categories excluded from the law are:

  • certain agricultural pursuits
  • realtors who qualify as independent contractors
  • firefighters belonging to a firefighters relief association which has waived coverage under the workers compensation law
  • sole proprietors and partners
  • certain owner-operator vehicle drivers covered by their own occupational accident insurance policy

Can employers elect in or out of coverage?
Elections in or out of the Workers Compensation Act are options available to employers or employees. Depending on the circumstances, options may be available for:

  • non-covered employers, those with payrolls of $20,000 or less or certain agricultural pursuits
  • corporate employees owning 10 percent or more of stock
  • individuals, proprietors or partnerships
  • employers seeking coverage for volunteers and other non-covered workers
  • volunteer directors, officers or trustees of a nonprofit organization

What are the employer's responsibilities when an accident occurs?
Employers must notify their insurance carrier or group-funded pool of an employee's injury. An employer must file, or cause to be filed, an accident report with the Division of Workers Compensation within 28 days from the date of the employer's receipt of knowledge of a reportable accident or a death. Failure to do so may result in legal and financial penalties.

Immediately upon learning of an employee's injury or death, the employer must furnish written information to the employee or employee's dependents on available benefits (using Form K WC-27-A or K WC-270-A), the claims process, an employer or insurance company contact for workers compensation claims and other matters as required by law. Forms K WC-27-A is available from the Division of Workers Compensation, insurance carrier or group-funded pool.

Can I purchase a workers compensation policy from the state of Kansas and if not, who do I contact?
No. Workers compensation insurance coverage shall be obtained by:

  • contacting a Kansas licensed insurance agent
  • contacting the Kansas Insurance Department for information on group-funded pools
  • contacting the Division of Workers Compensation for information on self-insurance

Can an employer pay claims out of pocket for worker compensation injuries sustained by an employee?
Employers must provide for payment of claims in one of three ways:

  • workers compensation insurance: obtained from a licensed insurance carrier. The employer pays the premiums and the insurance company pays the claims. The insurance carriers are regulated by the Kansas Insurance Department.
  • self-insurance: an individual employer must demonstrate to the state the financial ability to pay any claims that might arise. This program is administered by the Division of Workers Compensation.
  • group-funded pool: a group of employers meeting certain statutory requirements may form a self-insurance program to jointly insure their ability to pay claims. This program is administered by the Kansas Department of Insurance.

I have further questions and need more information about Kansas workers compensation; where can I go?
You can contact the division by emailing wcemployerservices@dol.ks.gov or calling (785) 296-4000 or (800) 332-0353.

The Division of Workers Compensation has a Speakers Bureau with experts who can speak on fraud and abuse, coverage and compliance, medical services and the fee schedule and general workers compensation issues. For information, click here.

The required Posting Notice and other forms needed by employers are available at no cost.

The Division of Workers Compensation holds an annual seminar in late summer/early fall for insurance carriers, employers, attorneys and medical providers.