Maine law requires every business to provide workers compensation insurance to protect its employees. Workers comp pays for medical expenses and lost wages following an on-the-job injury or occupational disease.
Is There a Minimum Payroll for Maine Workers Comp?
No. As soon as you hire your first employee, you’re required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter how much or how little they work, or what their hourly wage is. The only exceptions are employers of domestic servants in a private home, or agricultural employers who meet certain requirements.
Do I Have to Buy Workers Compensation for Independent Contractors in Maine?
No, but the eligibility bar for an independent contractor is VERY high in Maine. Maine law sets 12 tests for an independent contractor. The tests deal with supervision and control. How many do you have to meet to qualify? All twelve.
If there’s any question in your mind whether or someone is a contractor or an employee, chances are good that they’re an employee. To avoid unplanned expenses, we recommend applying for a Pre-determination of Independent Contractor Status (WCB-266) with the Maine Workers Compensation Board.
Are Business Owners and Partners Required to Buy Maine Workers Comp Coverage for Themselves?
They’re not required, but whether they’re automatically covered or not depends on the type of legal entity.
Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships – Owners are not automatically covered, but they may “opt in”. Parents, spouses and children of an owner who work in the business are automatically covered, but may “opt out” by signing a form.
Corporations and Professional Associations – Officers who work in the business are automatically covered and included at their actual payroll (subject to minimums and maximums). If they own less than 20% of the stock, they cannot be excluded.
An owner of 20% or more of voting stock may “opt out” of workers comp by signing a form. Spouses, parents and children of these owners may also be excluded, even if they’re not household members.
Charitable, Religious or Non-Profit Corporations – Executives are not considered “officers”. If they are paid wages, they are covered by workers compensation. They may not “opt out”. If they are not paid, they are considered volunteers, and not covered. Volunteers do not have the choice to “opt in”.
LLCs – Owners are excluded unless they “opt in” to coverage. Parents, children and spouses of owners are automatically covered, but may “opt out” of workers comp.
Owners of 50% or more of separate businesses MUST be on the SAME policy, even if the two businesses have different legal forms (e.g. a partnership and a corporation).
What’s the Penalty for Not Having Maine Workers Compensation Coverage?
That’s a risk you don’t want to take. Here are a few of the downsides:
- It’s a Class D crime, subject to a $10,000 penalty or 108% of the premium you should have paid (whichever’s larger);
- You can lose your corporate charter or other state licenses;
- You’re solely responsible for the medical expenses and lost wages of your employees (regardless of fault or contributory negligence);
- Your liability and other insurance offer no protection against this.
If your business hires an employee, you need Maine workers compensation coverage. Call Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance at 207-799-5541 for a free consultation and quote. We can help you manage your workers compensation and other Maine business insurance costs. We represent several top Maine business insurers, including MEMIC, the largest workers compensation insurer in Maine.
We’re independent and committed to you.