Almost all employees must be covered by workers compensation insurance. Those exempt from the act are: sole proprietors and partners; corporate officers; casual employees not connected with a trade, profession or business; domestic servants — unless two or more are regularly employed 40 or more hours a week; any person employed to do maintenance, repair, remodeling or similar work in or about the private home of the employer, provided the work does not exceed 10 consecutive work days.
Also exempt are persons performing services in return for aid or sustenance from any religious or charitable organization; an employee subject to either the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act or the Jones Act; law enforcement officers and fire fighters hired prior to October 1,1977 since they are subject to LEOFF act, plan I; minor children under 18 years of age on a family farm; musicians and entertainers; insurance brokers or salesmen; and several other categories. Although coverage is not mandatory for the previously described positions, some of them may be brought under coverage voluntarily, if the employer elects to do so, subject to the approval of the department.
Self-insurance is permitted if an employer can meet certain qualifications. Self-insuring employers must show their financial ability by providing a surety bond or a deposit of $305,000 or more. Such employers must also establish their own safety organizations to provide service similar to that provided by the safety division of the department. Furthermore, these firms must have been in business for three years and have a net minimum worth of $2 million.
Employers that have employees who are not residents of Washington may be exempt from the workers compensation law of Washington if work is of temporary nature and this state has a reciprocal agreement with the home state
of such employee. In these cases, employers are required to submit a certificate to the Department of Labor and Industries stating to the effect that employees will be working in the state of Washington for a period of time and that they are covered under the workers compensation act of their home state.
Those states that have reciprocal agreements with Washington are Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming. Employees of all other states must be covered under the workers compensation act of Washington, assuming the type of work being performed is not exempt from the law.
In order to apply for workers compensation insurance in the state of Washington, an employer must request an application from the department or any one of its fifteen district offices. This master business application will open accounts with five agencies in Washington, thus avoiding multiple applications. Classification is made according to the business that the firm is engaged in and not by individual employments.
Employers are charged the industrial insurance premium, the medical aid premium, and the supplemental pension hind assessment.
The industrial insurance premium is paid entirely by the employer. This rate is assessed according to the number of workers hours and premiums are paid quarterly. The medical aid premium is shared equally by the employer and employee. Both premiums are experience rated after three years. Also shared equally is the assessment for the pension fund.
After coverage is written by the department, the employer must complete quarterly reports of payroll. These become due thirty days following the end of the quarter being reported.
Department of Labor and Industries
Industrial Insurance Division
P.O. Box 4400
Olympia WA 98504-4000
(360) 902-5800; FAX: (360) 902-5798