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Business owners are required to carry workers' compensation insurance in Georgia if they have three or more employees working in Georgia, whether full-time or part-time.
Owners: Officers may need to be included, if employed by an incorporated business. Up to five officers may waive coverage on themselves, but they still count toward the three or more employees rule. In other words, if you have three officers that waive coverage and one non-officer employed, you’re legally required to provide insurance for that one employee.
Georgia considers sole proprietors and partners to be employers and do not need to be covered. They can choose to be covered on their policy, if they wish.
Contractors: If you are an independent contractor, you might not be covered by the hiring company’s insurance policy and may need to provide proof of work comp. Are you an employee or an independent contractor?
Contractors must also be wary of subcontracting work; they could be held liable if the subcontractor has employees but not work comp coverage.
Current legislation being debated in Georgia would determine whether “gig economy” workers would be classified as employees or independent contractors. Under the law, individuals who find work through apps like Uber, Lyft or TaskRabbit, would be considered independent contractors and not eligible for employee benefits like workers’ compensation. Other states, including New York and California, have been going through similar legal battles.
Georgia has relatively high workers' comp rates, compared to national averages. A 2018 study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services found that Georgia ranked sixth in the U.S., jumping up from 27th in 2016. On average, Georgia businesses can expect to pay between $2.00 and $2.49 per $100 in payroll.
Georgia workers’ compensation rates are recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which most states use as their rating bureau. NCCI collects data on workplace injuries and advises rates based on class code, or industry classification.
When seeking a workers’ compensation policy, small business owners can contact a licensed insurance agent or carrier. The insurance carrier calculates the final premium cost based on the set rate, the company’s payroll, its Experience Modifier, and any additional credits or debits based on the company’s workplace safety. Learn more about how workers' compensation costs are calculated.
For more tips on getting cheap workers' comp insurance, read 12 Ways to Save Money on Small Business Insurance.
If your business is having trouble finding coverage, NCCI also administers Georgia’s assigned risk pool, which will place you with a carrier.
Need more information? Here are some frequently asked questions about GA workers' comp.
Employers with three or more employees must carry coverage, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary / seasonal workers. The policy will cover all employees in case of a work-related injury or illness.
The policy may also cover the employer, though Georgia does allow some employers to waive coverage if they wish.
Typically, the business must purchase coverage for all employees before the third employee's start date, so coverage is in effect before they begin work.
If the business has three employees, it need a worker' comp policy. Small business insurance is just like any other commercial insurance product, but coverage is relative to the amount of exposure a small business might have. Less exposure means lower limits, and therefore, lower premiums. Learn more about small business insurance.
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Georgia has a private market, which means you can purchase a workers' compensation policy from any private insurance carrier or agency that is licensed to write in that state.
Georgia does not have a state fund that competes with the private market. If you have trouble getting a policy, you can obtain coverage through the assigned risk pool.
Do I need coverage? Is “pay as you go” workers’ comp available? We’ve rounded up your top-searched questions and answered them here.
Buying workers' comp for the first time? We're here to help. This post offers tips for first-time buyers and very small businesses with five employees or less.
Work comp laws are based on number of employees. We explain who needs to be on your policy so you can stay in compliance with GA laws and avoid hefty fines.