Are all Ohio businesses required to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

Yes. Ohio companies with any employees—even if they just have one person working for them—must purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees when they suffer work-related injuries. Employees must be covered as soon as they begin their first day of work. Most employers fulfill this requirement by obtaining insurance through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), but a few of the state’s larger employers are self-insured.

There are no exceptions to this rule if a business has employees, but coverage is optional for Ohio businesses or religious organizations with no employees.

Types of Businesses That Do Not Have to Carry Workers’ Comp

These types of businesses do not have to carry workers compensation coverage:

  • Sole proprietors with no employees
  • Partnerships with no employees
  • Family farm corporate officers with no employees
  • Individuals incorporated as a business with no employees
  • Limited liability companies acting as sole proprietors with no employees
  • Limited liability companies acting as partnerships with no employees
  • Ordained or associate ministers of religious organizations exercising of their ministries (but any paid employees of the church must be covered).

These businesses may carry workers’ comp in case the owner or minister is injured on the job. If they carry the insurance, they can report a work injury against their policy and, if approved by the BWC, medical bills and lost time wages can be paid.

Coverage for Volunteer Workers

Workers’ compensation is not available to cover volunteers who work for non-profit organizations or private companies. However, public employers who use volunteers to provide emergency services—such as volunteer firefighters—must provide workers’ compensation for them.

Employees Should Not Have to Worry About Coverage

You may wish to discover what kind of workers’ compensation insurance your employer has even before you are hurt. The workers’ comp process is different if your employer is self-insured rather than carrying BWC insurance, so knowing this information can be helpful. If you have been hurt, get accurate information right away so you can protect your recovery. Talk to your employer about your company’s coverage, or you can contact the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to get this information.

If you are not satisfied with the treatment you are receiving because of your injury, or if you feel that it's not being taken seriously or handled properly, see how we can help. To learn more, please download a free copy of our book, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, and call us directly to schedule an initial meeting.

James Monast
Fighting for Ohio’s Injured Workers and their Families