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If your business has employees in the state of Kansas, you’ll need to make sure you adhere to Kansas’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance laws. Workers’ Compensation provides medical and financial benefits for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses or for their survivors in the case of an employee death.
Who needs Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Kansas?
Kansas requires all employers with at least one employee to obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance. In Kansas, an “employee” is generally defined as any individual who has entered into the employment of or works under any contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer and is not an independent contractor.
The Kansas Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) defines all of the requirements for Workers’ Comp in Kansas, and the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Division (WC Division) monitors, enforces, and administers the program. Ensuring your company is in compliance is critical, as there are serious penalties and fines for those who fail to abide by state regulations.
What employees are covered under Workers’ Compensation in Kansas?
Almost all workers are covered under Workers’ Compensation in Kansas. If you provide work or services for an employer, and you are not an independent contractor, you will likely be eligible for Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
The following are categories of employees that are eligible for Workers’ Comp coverage:
- Full-time and part-time employees
- Apprentices and interns
- Undocumented workers
- Seasonal workers
The following are categories of employees that are generally excluded from Workers’ Comp coverage:
- Employees of certain agriculture industries
- Employees of companies with no payroll or a total gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less
- Sole proprietors, members of an LLC, or partners of a partnership
- Realtors who work as independent contractors
- Some owner-operator vehicle drivers if they are covered by their own occupational accident insurance policy
What Workers’ Compensation benefits do employees receive?
Under Workers’ Compensation in Kansas, employers are required to provide the following benefits to employees who are injured in the course of employment:
- Employers are required to cover all medical expenses considered necessary.
- Employers have the right to choose the employee’s treating physician. Employees may apply to the Director of Workers’ Compensation to have their doctor changed.
- Mileage reimbursement is provided for transportation to and from medical appointments if the round trip is in excess of five miles. Hired transportation such as taxis can also be reimbursed.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Employees who are unable to engage in any type of substantial and gainful employment are eligible for Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits, which provides 66 and two-thirds percent of the worker’s average weekly wage before injury, up to the maximum.
- The WCA establishes minimum and maximum benefit amounts, which change yearly. For accidents that occurred from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the maximum TTD benefit was $687 per week, and the minimum benefit amount was $25 per week.
- Employees can continue to receive TTD benefits for as long as they are unable to work due to a work-related condition.
- TTD benefits cannot exceed a total of $130,000.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
- If injured employees are able to return to any employment at a wage less than the time of injury wage, they may be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits. TPD benefits provide 66 and two-thirds percent of the difference between a worker’s pre- and post-injury average weekly wage.
- The WCA establishes minimum and maximum benefit amounts, which change yearly. For accidents that occurred from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the maximum TPD benefit was $687 per week, and the minimum benefit amount was $25 per week.
- TPD benefits cannot exceed a total of $130,000.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
- Employees who recover from a covered injury but suffer a permanent partial impairment may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits.
- The number of benefit weeks available from PPD can vary based on the body part that was injured and the severity of the injury. The WCA’s schedule of injuries explains how long benefits will be paid and what benefits are available for different types of injuries.
- Compensation for injuries that are not specified in the schedule is based on the percentage of disability remaining after recovery. Benefits for unscheduled disabilities are payable for up to 415 weeks.
- The WCA establishes minimum and maximum benefit amounts, which change yearly. For accidents that occurred from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the maximum PPD benefit was $687 per week, and the minimum benefit amount was $25 per week.
- PPD benefits cannot exceed a total of $130,000.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
- Employees who are rendered completely and permanently incapable of engaging in any type of substantial and gainful employment may be eligible for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits.
- Permanent total disabilities include the loss of both eyes, both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, or a combination of these members of the body, total paralysis, or incurable mental disability.
- PTD benefits provide 66 and two-thirds percent of a worker’s average weekly wage pre-injury, payable as long as the employee remains permanently and totally disabled and is unable to earn wages.
- The WCA establishes minimum and maximum benefit amounts, which change yearly. For accidents that occurred from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the maximum PTD benefit was $687 per week, and the minimum benefit amount was $25 per week.
- PTD benefits cannot exceed a total of $155,000.
- Employers must cover up to $10,000 of funeral expenses.
- A worker’s dependents may be eligible to receive 66 and two-thirds percent of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to the maximum amount allowed by the WCA. For accidents that occurred from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, the maximum was $687 per week, and the minimum benefit amount was $458 per week.
- $60,000 of death benefits are payable immediately in a lump sum to the surviving spouse or dependent children. If the employee has both a surviving spouse and children, 50% will go to the surviving spouse and 50% to the dependent children.
- Death benefits can be paid to a surviving spouse for life but will be terminated upon remarriage. Dependent children can receive benefits until they are 18, or until they are 23 if they are full-time students or are physically or mentally incapacitated.
- Employers may be required to pay up to $2,500 for a court-appointed conservator.
- Death benefits cannot exceed a total of $300,000.
What are the penalties for breaking Kansas Workers’ Compensation laws?
Failure to adhere to the Workers’ Compensation laws set out by the WCA can result in significant fines and even imprisonment. In order to avoid any costly penalties, it’s important to consult the WCA or your insurer to ensure you are in compliance. Below are the major ways in which companies can be penalized:
Failure to Pay Compensation
- Employers that fail to pay compensation when due must pay a penalty to the employee of up to $100 for each week the compensation was past due.
- For past due medical bills, employers must pay a penalty of either $25 or 10% of the past due bill, whichever is greater.
Failure to Report Injuries
- Repeated failure to make required reports may result in a penalty of $250 per violation.
Failure to Maintain Coverage
- Employers that fail to maintain workers’ compensation coverage may be liable for a penalty of either twice the amount of the annual premium the employer would have paid if it had been insured or $25,000, whichever is greater.
- Employers may be prohibited from doing business until they are in compliance with workers’ compensation laws.
- Fraudulent acts are punishable by a fine of $2,000 for each act of fraud or abuse, up to a maximum of $20,000 in a one-year period.
- Providing false information to claim exemption from the WCA is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
- Employers may be charged with a level 9 nonperson felony punishable by five to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 in cases of fraud undertaken to obtain a more favorable premium rate or avoid paying compensation.
How much does Workers’ Compensation Insurance cost in Kansas?
According to the National Academy of Social Insurance Workers’ Compensation Report (November 2020), the average employer cost for Workers’ Compensation in Kansas was $0.99 per $100 of covered wages. This figure is estimated across all insurers and all industries, so the cost to your particular business may vary.
How does the Workers’ Compensation claims process work in Kansas?
Injured employees should report their condition to employers as soon as possible, either orally or in writing. Employers must report work-related injuries to the WC Division within 28 days of learning of the injury. Employers must also provide written information to employees or or their dependents about the available benefits and claims process. Mediation is available at any time during the claims process.
Kansas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Resources
For more information on Kansas Workers’ Compensation laws and requirements, please visit the following resources: