Administering Idaho's Workers' Compensation Law

Employer FAQs

Who is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance? (top)

Employers with one or more full-time, part-time, seasonal, or occasional employees are required to maintain a workers’ compensation policy unless specifically exempt from the law. Workers’ Compensation is required to be in place before the first employee is hired.

What employments are exempt from the requirement to carry workers' compensation insurance? (top)

  • Household domestic service.
  • Employment of family members living in the employer’s household (applies only to sole proprietorships).
  • The owner of a sole proprietorship; working members of a partnership or limited liability company; individuals who are corporate officers and who own at least 10% of the stock and who are directors, if the corporation has directors.
  • Employment covered under Federal Workers’ Compensation Laws.
  • Pilots of agricultural spraying or dusting planes (under certain conditions).
  • Associate real estate brokers and real estate salespersons when paid solely by commission.
  • Volunteer ski patrollers.
  • Officials of athletic contests in secondary schools only (grades 7-12 inclusive or any combination thereof).
  • Casual employment or work which occurs occasionally or at irregular times and which is not related to the type of business conducted by the employer.
  • Employment as an outworker. (Defined as a person to whom materials are furnished to be treated in any way at a location not under the control of the employer. An example would be a worker who receives mass mailing materials from the employer and assembles them at home.)
  • Certain family member employees of a sole proprietor employer who do not reside in the same household as the employer may file an election for exemption with the Industrial Commission.   See chart for relationships eligible to file an election for exemption.  We have posted a copy of the form for your convenience.

To determine if you quality for an exemption, contact one of the Industrial Commission offices.

Can I buy coverage for exempt employment? (top)

In some cases, you may elect coverage for exempt employment. Contact your insurance agent or representative for more information on electing coverage for exempt employment.

What are the penalties if I don’t have workers’ compensation insurance? (top)

If one of your employees is injured and you do not have workers' compensation insurance in effect at the time of the injury, you can be personally liable for all benefits, including medical and wage loss, provided under the Workers' Compensation Law. An uninsured employer may also be liable for a penalty of 10% of the amount of medical and wage loss benefits as well as attorney fees if an attorney represents the injured worker.

In addition, employers who operate without workers' compensation insurance can be liable for a penalty of $2.00 per day per employee or $25.00 per day, whichever amount is greater. The Workers' Compensation Law authorizes the Industrial Commission to file a lawsuit in district court to obtain an injunction prohibiting the employer from operating the business while in violation of the Workers' Compensation Law.

Operating a business without workers' compensation insurance is a misdemeanor under Idaho law and the employer may be subject to criminal penalties.

If an employee is injured on the job, do I have to report it? (top)

Yes. Idaho law mandates that all injuries must be reported to the Industrial Commission through the filling of a First Report of Injury form.

What if I use contract labor or sub-contractors? (top)

If you have contract workers, whether the contract is verbal or written, the workers may be considered employees under the Workers’ Compensation Law. To ensure you are in compliance with the law, contact an Industrial Commission Employer Compliance representative to discuss your situation. Your requirement for coverage is considered on a case-by-case basis.

What if I operate out of state? (top)

Idaho has agreements with some of its neighboring states that allow Idaho employers to cover their employees under an Idaho workers’ compensation policy when they are working out-of-state. If you plan to perform work in another state, contact an Employer Compliance office to determine what other requirements may apply.

How much does workers' compensation cost? (top)

Workers’ compensation insurance premiums are based on payroll and vary according to the type of business or work performed by the employees. The employer is required by law to pay the entire cost of workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Deducting any portion of the cost of these premiums from employee wages is specifically prohibited. Your insurance agent or representative can assist you with determining your individual workers’ compensation insurance cost.

Where do I obtain workers' compensation insurance? (top)

Employers can obtain workers’ compensation insurance through one of four options:

  • Private Insurance. There are over 300 insurance companies authorized to issue workers’ compensation insurance in Idaho. For information, contact an insurance agent or company representative.
  • State Insurance Fund. The State Insurance Fund is a quasi-governmental entity, NOT a state agency, headquartered in Boise, with field offices located throughout Idaho. Contact any of their offices or your insurance agent for more information.
  • Assigned Risk Pool. Employers unable to obtain coverage from private insurance companies or the State Insurance Fund can apply for coverage through the assigned risk pool. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) administers the pool. Contact your insurance agent or NCCI at (800) 622-4123 for more information.
  • Self-Insurance. This option is available to Idaho employers with large payrolls and who are able to meet specific requirements. The Idaho Industrial Commission must grant approval for self-insurance.

How do I know if an employer has workers' compensation insurance? (top)

You can check to see if an employer has a workers’ compensation insurance policy by going to the coverage verification link on the Commission’s website. Coverage Verification will provide the name of the insurance company that wrote a workers compensation policy for a specific employer on a specific date.

Can I obtain a waiver so I don't have to carry workers' compensation? (top)

No. In fact, waivers are specifically prohibited under the Workers' Compensation Law.

How can I tell if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor? (top)

Idaho uses the right to control test to determine if a worker is an employee or independent contractor.  A copy of the right to control guidelines is available online to view or print.