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When it comes to workers’ compensation insurance in California, understanding who is exempt from coverage is important so you can plan for your future in the event of a workplace injury or illness. 

If you find yourself questioning whether or not you are exempt from workers’ compensation insurance, or you believe you have been wrongfully denied benefits, our San Diego employment attorneys from Mara Law Firm are here to provide you with accurate and reliable legal guidance. 

The Basics of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to protect both employees and employers in the event of a workplace injury. It provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees who have been injured on the job, while also protecting employers from lawsuits related to those injuries. 

However, not all workers are required to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance in California. Understanding the exemptions is important to ensure compliance with the law and to protect your rights.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Exemptions

In California, there are certain categories of workers who are exempt from workers’ compensation insurance. These exemptions vary based on the type of work being performed, the nature of the employer’s business, and the number of employees they have. Here are some common exemptions:

Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are individuals who work independently and are not considered employees. They typically provide services to multiple clients and have more control over how and when they work. Independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance and are responsible for obtaining their own insurance coverage if desired.

Sole Proprietors

Sole proprietors are individuals who own and operate their own businesses without any partners or co-owners. In California, sole proprietors are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance for themselves, although they can choose to purchase coverage if they wish. However, if a sole proprietor has employees, they must obtain workers’ compensation insurance to cover those employees.

Partners in a Partnership

Similarly to sole proprietors, partners in a partnership are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance for themselves. However, if the partnership has employees, workers’ compensation insurance must be obtained to cover them.

Corporate Officers

In California, corporate officers who hold at least 15% of the stock in a corporation are allowed to exempt themselves from workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This exemption applies to officers of both for-profit and nonprofit corporations.

Unpaid Volunteers

Workers who provide services as unpaid volunteers for a nonprofit organization are generally exempt from workers’ compensation insurance. However, it’s important to note that if these volunteers receive any form of compensation, such as reimbursement for expenses or a stipend, they may no longer be considered volunteers and would need to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Employees Covered by Other Benefit Plans

Certain employees may be exempt from workers’ compensation insurance if they are covered by other benefit plans that provide similar or greater benefits. These benefit plans must be approved by the state and meet specific requirements to qualify for exemption.

Speak with a San Diego Employment Lawyer

If you need assistance navigating workers’ compensation exemptions or other employment issues in San Diego, Mara Law Firm is here to help. Our team of dedicated employment law attorneys can provide you with the guidance and support you need to protect your rights. Reach out today to book a no-cost legal consultation and case review. 

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