Who is an “Employer” who requires Workers’ Compensation Insurance in New York?

Virtually all employers in New York State must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. WCL §§ 2, 3. An employer can be a natural person, an association or partnership, a corporation, or a municipal organization. Although circular, an employer is defined as “anyone who has employees.” Even just one.

Employers must post notice of coverage in their place(s) of business. WCL § 51. Employers must cover the following workers for workers’ compensation insurance:

  • Workers in for-profit employments, including part-time employees, borrowed employees, leased employees, family members and volunteers. WCL § 3 Groups 1-14-a.
  • Employees of counties and municipalities engaged in “hazardous” work. WCL § 3 Groups 15, 15-a and 17.
  • Employees of the State of New York.
  • Domestic workers employed forty or more hours per week by the same employer. This includes full-time sitters, companions, and live-in maids.
  • Farm workers. Farm workers are entitled to benefits if their employer paid $1,200 or more for farm labor in the preceding calendar year.
  • Any other worker determined by the Board to be an employee.
  • All corporate officers if the corporation has more than two officers and/or two stockholders. WCL § 54.
  • Officers of one-or-two person corporations if there are other individuals in employment. These officers may choose to exclude themselves from coverage. WCL § 54.
  • Most workers compensated by a nonprofit organization.
  • Volunteer Firefighters and Volunteer Ambulance Workers are provided benefits for death or injuries suffered in the line of duty under the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law and Volunteer Ambulance Workers’ Benefit Law.

Greg Lois is the managing partner of LOIS LLC, a 21-attorney law firm dedicated to defending employers and carriers in New York and New Jersey workers' compensation claims. Greg is the author of a popular series of "Handbooks" on workers' compensation, and is the co-author of the 2016 & 2017 Lexis-Nexis New Jersey Workers' Compensation Practice Guide. Greg can be reached at 201-880-7213 or glois@lois-llc.com