Most employers who have more than one employee in the state of Maryland are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for each employee. This insurance must be obtained from a company that is licensed and approved to write workers’ compensation insurance, or it can be obtained through the Chesapeake Employer’s Insurance Company. Employers also have the right to become a self-insured employer, providing they receive appropriate approval from the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).

Employer Responsibilities

Any employer that wishes to hire an employee is required to provide a certificate showing compliance with Maryland workers’ compensation laws, or the policy or binder number for the insurance. Once either of these options is provided, proper licensing or permits will be provided to allow for hiring of employees. It is up to the employer to pay for all workers’ compensation insurance, and it can’t be deducted from the employees’ pay. If an employer is found to be deducting any part of the premiums, he or she is committing a misdemeanor crime in the state of Maryland.

Employer Penalties

It is vitally important for all employers who are not considered exempt from providing workers’ compensation insurance to have it. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor. The employer may be subject to fines of up to $5,000, one year in jail, or a combination of both fines and jail time.

Exempted Employees and Employers

Maryland law provides exemptions for some employees. The following types of employees and employers do not require workers’ compensation insurance:
• Agricultural Workers – Any employees that are employed as independent contractors, provide their own materials and tools, and do not have taxes withheld
• Tractor Owners – Any tractor owner that leases from motor carriers, who is considered an independent contractor under federal law, and receives payment for rentals from carriers
• Seasonal/Migratory Workers – Any seasonal/migratory workers that don’t run any heavy equipment or machinery, and who are working within a 25 mile radius of their home
• Agricultural Employers – Any agricultural employers who have either annual payrolls of under $15,000 on full time employees, or that have fewer than three full time employees
• Maintenance Workers – Private home maintenance workers who work for less than 30 consecutive days
• Domestics – Domestic employees who earn under $750 each quarter
• Interns – Students who are working without pay as part of educational requirements (unless handicapped)
• Volunteers – Firefighters, police, rescue squads, and other similar volunteers

Claims Filing

Employers covered under Maryland Workers’ Compensation laws are required to file claims for accidents that cause an employee to be off work for more than three days. The initial report, known as the First Report of Injury, has to be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Committee within 10 days of the employer being notified of the accident. Employees are also required to file an
Employee’s Claim with the WCC.

Maryland Workers’ Compensation laws are strict, but provide employers with important protections. The most important of these is that it disallows employees from suing employers due to being injured on the job.