California Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Agricultural Companies

In California, Workers’ Compensation is a must for most companies, including those that do agricultural work. Being illegally uninsured welcomes a host of problems for employers in California.

Having Workers’ Compensation means a company also has crucial protections in place in case a workplace accident occurs. And, because of the dangers workers in the agricultural sector face, agricultural businesses are generally required to have Workers’ Compensation in California. Despite being high-risk, agricultural businesses are still able to get affordable and flexible insurance by working with our brokers. Those that fail to follow California’s Workers’ Compensation laws can face a variety of penalties, including fines, jail time, and civil action from injured workers. Such matters can be avoided by having a policy from a Workers’ Compensation provider.

To start the process of getting a workplace liability insurance policy for your agricultural company, call the California Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at NPN Brokers at (561) 990-3022.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage Requirements for Agricultural Companies in California

California has strict rules for Workers’ Compensation coverage. While there are a few exemptions to needing insurance coverage, they rarely apply to agricultural companies, if ever.

California law requires all companies, even those with only one worker, to have workplace liability insurance. Exemptions exist for sole proprietors and certain business owners. There are also exemptions for volunteers. While some states do not require agricultural companies with a certain number of seasonal employees to have Workers’ Compensation, California is not one of those states, largely because California has a big seasonal agricultural industry.

According to recent estimations, about 15% of California’s agricultural industry is made up of undocumented immigrants. The actual number might be even higher, as some companies do not always properly report the number of undocumented immigrants they employ. Employers in the realm of agriculture need to know that undocumented workers can receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if injured on the job in California. Because of this, employers must accurately report their payroll numbers when seeking Workers’ Compensation coverage. Otherwise, they might be penalized for misclassifying or underreporting their employees. Insurance carriers might also cancel policies for such violations, leaving agricultural companies without workplace liability insurance.

Flexible and Affordable Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Agricultural Companies in California

Because agricultural companies often work on a seasonal basis, even in ideal climates like California, employers generally want flexible Workers’ Compensation coverage that does not break the bank.

Fortunately, our Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers can get agricultural companies pay-as-you-go insurance. This offers considerable flexibility to companies, who only need to pay for workers they currently employ. For example, if you employ seasonal workers who are only in your employment for a few months out of the year, you will not need to pay for coverage for them during the months that they are under your employment. The result is more accurate and affordable Workers’ Compensation premiums for agricultural companies in California.

The agricultural industry is a dangerous one. Not only do workers have to utilize hazardous machinery on a regular basis, but they also have to be outside under California’s hot sun. Many carriers see this as risky, causing them to be hesitant to offer Workers’ Compensation coverage to agricultural companies. Our brokers work with carriers that are more open to providing coverage to high-risk companies without an unnecessary price increase. On top of that, you can find a policy that does not require any audits, contracts, or deposits, making the entire process of getting Workers’ Compensation in California more affordable and less stressful.

California Penalties for Agricultural Companies without Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Various penalties may be assessed against agricultural companies that do not follow California’s Workers’ Compensation coverage rules. These penalties can include fines, jail time, and civil litigation from injured employees.

Civil Penalties

For initial acts of non-compliance, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will assess a penalty of either twice the amount an employer should have paid in Workers’ Compensation premiums during the time they were without coverage or $1,500 per employee during the period they were uncovered, whichever amount is greater. Furthermore, suppose a worker files a claim with the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund, and their injuries are found to be compensable. In that case, their employer can be fined an additional $10,000 per employee on the payroll at the time of the accident, up to $100,000. Even if the employee’s claim is found to be non-compensable, the employer can be fined an additional $2,000 per employee on the payroll at the time of the accident because they were illegally uninsured, up to $100,000.

Criminal Penalties

Employers might also face criminal penalties for not providing Workers’ Compensation coverage to their agricultural workers in California. Being illegally uninsured can result in fines up to $10,000, one year in county jail, or both. Furthermore, if an employer fails to secure Workers’ Compensation within 60 days of being issued a stop-work order, they might face 60 days in county jail, a $10,000 fine, or both penalties.

Work Injury Lawsuits

The final consequence agricultural employers face for not having Workers’ Compensation when required is civil litigation from injured employees. Employers are immune to work injury lawsuits when all Workers’ Compensation laws are followed. However, when agricultural workers are not given the opportunity to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, they can sue their employers. These lawsuits generally result in higher compensation than what might have been available in a Workers’ Compensation claim. Lawsuits can be time-consuming and stressful, resulting in difficulties for all parties involved. Work injury lawsuits can also bankrupt agricultural companies in California, which is why always having a Workers’ Compensation insurance policy in place is crucial for employers.

Contact Our California Brokers for Workers’ Comp Coverage Today

You can call our Workers’ Compensation insurance brokers at (561) 990-3022 for more details about how NPN Brokers can help you.