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08 Mar 2023

Who is Required to Have Workers' Compensation Insurance in California?

In California, employers with one or more employees are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This includes full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees, as well as family members who work for the business. Even if an employee is only employed for a short period of time, such as a few days or weeks, they must be covered by workers' compensation insurance.

There are some exceptions to this requirement. Sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, and members of a limited liability company (LLC) are not considered employees and are not required to carry workers' compensation insurance for themselves. However, they may need to provide coverage for any employees they hire.

Additionally, some types of businesses may be exempt from the workers' compensation insurance requirement, such as certain agricultural employers, casual or occasional employers, and some types of nonprofit organizations.

What Benefits Does Workers' Compensation Insurance Provide?

Workers' compensation insurance provides several types of benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. These benefits include:

  • Medical treatment: Workers' compensation insurance covers the cost of medical treatment related to the employee's work-related injury or illness, including doctor's visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications.

  • Temporary disability payments: If an employee is unable to work due to their work-related injury or illness, they may be eligible for temporary disability payments. These payments provide partial wage replacement for up to 104 weeks.

  • Permanent disability payments: If an employee's work-related injury or illness results in a permanent disability, they may be eligible for permanent disability payments. These payments provide ongoing wage replacement.

  • Vocational rehabilitation: If an employee is unable to return to their previous job due to their work-related injury or illness, they may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to help them find new employment.

Employers are required to provide proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage to their employees by posting a notice in the workplace and providing a written notice to each employee at the time of hire or within the first week of employment.

What Happens if an Employer Does Not Have Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Failure to carry workers' compensation insurance in California can result in significant penalties and legal consequences for employers. If an employer is found to be operating without workers' compensation insurance, they may be subject to fines, legal action, and civil liability for any injuries or illnesses that occur on the job.

In addition to these penalties, employers may also face difficulty obtaining or renewing business licenses or permits, and their ability to do business may be impacted.


In California, workers' compensation insurance is a requirement for most employers. Employers must ensure that they have appropriate coverage and provide notice of coverage to their employees. Failure to comply with the workers' compensation insurance requirement can result in significant legal and financial consequences for employers. By understanding the requirements and providing appropriate coverage, employers can protect their business and their employees in the event of a work-related injury or illness.

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