Are companies required to offer workers’ compensation benefits?

Illinois law requires all employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees. Employers can either purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a third party or self-insure, with permission from the state.

The Workers’ Compensation Act Protects Employees

In addition to securing workers’ compensation insurance or approval to self-insure, state law mandates that employers must:

  • Post a notice in the workplace naming the insurance carrier and explaining employees’ rights
  • Keep records of any workplace injuries and report to the state commission if any injury results in an employee missing more than three days of work
  • Not discriminate against an employee in any way for filing a workers’ compensation claim
  • Not charge an employee for any premiums the employer pays to workers’ compensation insurance carriers

If employers fail to fulfill these requirements, they could be subject to penalties. Negligent failure to provide benefits is considered a misdemeanor and could result in up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. If an employer knowingly fails to provide benefits, it is a felony punishable by up to three years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

The employer could also be subject to civil penalties, citations, and even stop-work orders for failing to provide workers’ compensation. Most seriously, the employer could lose the protections of the Workers’ Compensation Act. This means that the injured employee could sue the employer, which is a key protection of the law.

When the Employee Is Not Protected Under Workers’ Compensation

While the law does require companies to provide these benefits, there are situations when an employee is not eligible to receive them. Employers do not have to pay workers’ compensation benefits if:

  • The injury or illness is not work related
  • The employee does not provide medical information regarding his medical status and fitness to work
  • The employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury
  • The injury was the result of horseplay or behavior in violation of company policy
  • The injury was sustained by an independent contractor

Laws exist to protect workers and employers from the serious consequences of workplace injuries. If you have been injured at work, the legal team at Tapella Law may be able to help you secure the benefits you deserve. Contact us to chat live with a member of our team.