Worker’s Compensation in Virginia: Employer Basics

07/03/2013 by Megan B. Caramore

Authored by attorney Megan B. Caramore

Under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, employers have certain obligations to their employees.  Below is a list of the basic information that every employer should keep in mind.

  1. An employer who regularly employs three or more full-time or part-time employees is required to purchase and maintain workers’ compensation insurance.  Employers with fewer employees may also elect to obtain coverage for workers’ compensation liability by purchasing insurance.   Keep in mind that apprentices and trainees are generally considered employees when their training related to their jobs.  Part-time employees and working family members may also count toward the three employee limit.  Additionally, employees of an independent contractor or sub-contractor may count when they are performing the same kind of work as the employer.  Both minors and aliens (regardless of status) may be employees if working under an apprenticeship or contract for hire.  You may not deduct any cost of workers’ compensation insurance from employee wages.
  2. An employer must post a notice of workers’ compensation benefits in a prominent place.  A copy of this notice is available from the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and is typically referred to as VWC Form 1.
  3. The employer must ensure that every accident is reported to its insurance carrier on the Employer’s Accident Report form.
  4. After receiving notice of an accident or occupational disease, the Employer should provide the employee with a panel of at least three unaffiliated physicians and allow the employee to choose a treating physician from the panel.  In an emergency, the employee may be treated at an emergency care facility and the employer should provide a panel as soon as possible following the emergency treatment.
  5. Make sure to give employees thirty days’ notice if your workers’ compensation policy is cancelled or not renewed.

Employers who refuse or neglect to obtain workers’ compensation coverage where required can be fined up to $5,000.00 and where such failure continues, it may result in the employer being prohibited from conducting business in Virginia.  Additionally, uninsured employers place themselves at risk of a suit for damages outside of the workers’ compensation system.

These articles are meant to bring awareness to these topics and are not intended to be used as legal advice.

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