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How To: Calculate Workers’ Comp Cost Per Employee

As a result of its prevalence in American history, it’s not surprising that most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, even for small businesses. This policy protects both the employer and the employee.


An employee unable to work due to work-related injuries will receive workers’ compensation benefits. Moreover, it protects the company from being sued if there is an accident at work. You are not required to purchase a workers’ compensation policy if you are a sole proprietor or partnership (and you have no employees).


If you hire anyone, even casually, you are liable for anything that happens to them at work. 

Does Workers' Comp Insurance Have A Legal Framework?

If something is not enforced by law, that doesn’t mean you can get away with it. It is still your responsibility if your employee has an accident at work even if the state doesn’t require you to have insurance.


Having a good workers’ compensation policy is also essential since it’s nearly impossible for a business to budget for accidents.


A company might run for almost the entire year without any misfortune, only to be hit by a costly disaster in the final quarter. Insurance covers the unexpected and makes your budget work.  


It is a relief that there is a National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) that sets standards for compensation insurance.


Most states require them to develop policy forms and to write the rules for premium computations. You should start here. They can direct you to the appropriate local works office for your state if you are not governed by the NCCI. 

When Certain Jobs Are More Dangerous Than Others, How Is Workers' Comp Calculated?

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. Standing next to a copy machine is less likely to result in a serious injury than standing at the bottom of the sea welding.


Your insurance costs are based on what job classification you have. Insurance companies calculate rates by classifying work according to the level of risk involved. The North American Industry Classification System provides a list of class codes.

What Is The Formula For Calculating A Workers' Comp Rate?

Costs are calculated per $100 of payroll, so the higher your payroll, the higher the cost. You can estimate an employee’s workers’ compensation rate by dividing payroll by 100, and multiplying it by the workers’ compensation rate:


(Annual Employee Gross Payroll / 100) x Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rate = Estimated Workers’ Compensation Cost


Overtime premiums do not need to be included in your calculation, only contracted hours worked. As well as fringe benefits, group term life insurance is excluded from the calculation. Additionally, keep in mind that, like with most laws and regulations, they vary from state to state.  

Workers' Comp Insurance Can Help You Save Money?

You can choose to pay monthly or annually, depending on your premium rate. Paying upfront is usually a better deal. The insurance company might also consider factors other than payroll and your type of business when calculating your premium. Has your business had any losses?


Do you have any recent work-related injuries? What is the claim rate for your industry/type of business? Most on-site accidents occur in smaller construction firms. Certain insurance brokers offer lower premiums if you commit to a health and safety program or specific staff training. Those are issues that may affect your claims.

‍However, Not All Of My Employees Are Full-Time?

If you cannot calculate the payroll for the year because some employees are paid hourly or on rolling contracts, you can estimate your annual payroll. Depending on your payroll, you may be able to adjust your final premium up or down each year.

What Are The Most Common Mistakes Made When Calculating Workers' Comp Costs?

It is a common mistake for companies to overstate their payroll, which causes them to have higher workers’ compensation premiums. For non-exempt employees, they forget to deduct overtime premiums. Overtime premiums are paid to employees who work more than 40 hours a week, usually equal to 50 percent of base pay. Even if you pay overtime at 1.5 times base wages, your workers’ comp carrier should still only be paid based on the base salaries of your employees.


It’s also common for people to overlook the fine print of their insurance policies, which are often subject to adjustments based on their experience. Your premium can be raised if they have incurred losses from consecutive claims


It’s also possible that you have employees you’re unaware of. When you hire someone to work for your company in the U.S., that person will be entitled to compensation if they are injured on the job. The constant growth of the gig economy has resulted in a great deal of legislation to protect workers. Workers previously considered independent contractors are now eligible for employee benefits such as workers’ compensation coverage.

Prevention Is The Key To Avoiding Accidents

Deciding whether to enroll in a workers’ compensation policy is a personal one that involves balancing costs and benefits. To learn more about workers’ compensation laws, talk to your insurance agent.


Businesses and self-employed contractors might want to consider getting a policy that protects their business if they get hurt at work instead of skipping workers’ compensation protection. As a leading small business insurer, PEOPayGo is a great option.


As a Professional Employee Organization (PEO)P.E.O.PayGo can help you get workers comp, bundle payroll, and HR, and perform all the headache functions of a small business, all while saving your time and money. Let our Instaquote do all the work, we don’t need much information and it takes 2 minutes. Our software does all the work for you. 


Get Ready, Set, and Covered Now!

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