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Who Is Exempt From Workers Compensation in North Carolina?

Thu Jan 18th, by Workers Compensation |

In North Carolina, workers’ compensation laws generally cover most employers and employees, but there are exemptions and exceptions. There are several categories of workers who may be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage in North Carolina. A Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer can provide further insight into local laws and regulations regarding workers’ compensation.

Who is exempt from workers compensation in North Carolina?

Who Is Exempt?

Workers’ compensation exemptions can vary and involve certain limitations and conditions, making it important to carefully review local workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina to ensure proper compliance. Here are the categories of workers who are commonly exempt from these benefits:

  • Certain Agriculture Workers: In North Carolina, certain agricultural employees may be exempt, as this type of work is typically seasonal and involves temporary employment. There are often other protections available for these workers.
  • Sole Proprietors, LLC Members, and Partners: Business owners who are partners in a partnership, sole proprietors, or members of a limited liability company (LLC) can be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage for themselves. There is often an option to include themselves in coverage if they so choose.
  • Domestic Workers: Domestic workers, such as babysitters, housekeepers, or caregivers, may be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Casual Employees: Short-term or casual jobs with workers who are not permanent may be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Federal Employees: Workers employed by the federal government are covered under a separate system known as the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) and are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws.
  • Railroad Employees: Employees engaged in interstate railroad commerce are typically covered under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) rather than state workers’ compensation laws.
  • Certain Religious Organizations: Certain employees of religious organizations and clergy members can be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage.
  • Self-Employed: Contractors or self-employed individuals are generally not covered by state workers’ compensation coverage and need to seek this themselves.

In general, workers who are covered by other specific laws, such as harbor and longshore workers, may be exempt from state workers’ compensation laws, as there are other protections in place for these workers. It is important to know that exemptions vary, and criteria for exemptions can change, creating specific limitations or conditions. Employers and employees should carefully review workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina to understand their protections.

Why Is Workers’ Compensation Important?

Workers’ compensation is important for several reasons, as it provides benefits and protections for both employers and employees. Below are the key objectives and benefits of state-based workers’ compensation:

  • Protection for Injured Workers: Workers’ compensation ensures that employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses receive the necessary medical treatments. This can include hospitalization, doctor visits, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation services. Injured workers are also entitled to wage replacement benefits during the period they are unable to work. The financial support helps in covering living expenses and maintaining the worker’s standard of living.
  • No-Fault System: Workers’ compensation benefits are generally the exclusive remedy for injured workers against their employers. This limits the potential for costly and time-consuming personal injury claims against employers for workplace injuries and offers protection from extensive legal liability. Employees can seek compensation for injuries they caused, and there’s no need to prove negligence.
  • Social Safety Net: Workers’ compensation serves as a social safety net by ensuring proper support and care for injured workers without needing to place the burden solely on the individual, their family, or their personal support system. This helps prevent the injured workers from falling into poverty due to work-related injuries.
  • Return-to-Work Assistance: Vocational rehabilitation services provided under workers’ compensation help injured workers return to suitable employment. This can involve education, job training, and assistance in finding new employment.
  • Statutory Compliance: Compliance with workers’ compensation laws is a legal requirement for most employers. Having workers’ compensation insurance in place ensures that employers adhere to statutory obligations and maintain a fair and regulated work environment.

Workers’ compensation is a crucial component of the modern workplace, providing both financial and medical support to injured workers while also establishing a structured and efficient system to handle workplace injuries. This system hopes to benefit both employees and employers by balancing the interests of injured workers with the need for employer liability protection.


Q: Do I Need Workers’ Comp Insurance for Myself in NC?

A: In the state of North Carolina, if a business employs three or more employees, it is a legal requirement to have workers’ compensation insurance, with a few exceptions. While it is generally not a requirement for self-employed individuals to have workers’ compensation, this can be a helpful benefit to pursue.

Q: Who Is Not Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

A: Workers’ compensation generally does not cover independent contractors, agricultural workers, domestic workers, casual workers, volunteers, business owners, and federal employees. This is a generalization and can vary by specific instance, so it helps to understand what types of benefits are available to you by speaking to your employer or a lawyer.

Q: Do I Need Workers’ Comp for 1099 Employees in NC?

A: In general, 1099 employees, also known as independent contractors, are self-employed and are responsible for their own workers’ compensation coverage. In North Carolina, workers’ compensation laws generally apply to employees, but not individuals paid on a 1099 basis. It is important to look into the specifics of each employment agreement to ensure proper compliance with local laws and regulations.

Q: Who Pays Workers’ Compensation in NC?

A: In North Carolina, employers are responsible for paying for workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide coverage for employees who may suffer a work-related illness or injury. The insurance is available to cover the costs of medical treatment, wage replacement, and rehabilitation for employees who are injured on the job.

Contact M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law

Navigating the legal requirements and laws surrounding workers’ compensation in the state of North Carolina can feel daunting. However, M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, can offer valuable assistance and insight into your workplace injury case. Reach out today for a consultation and learn how our team can help you.