Ever heard of ‘worker’s comp’?
It may seem confusing, but it’s not. Workers’ comp is simply a type of insurance. Specifically, it’s a type of insurance that covers workers who suffer a work-related illness or injury.
How would it work with your nanny? Let’s say he or she twists her ankle while playing with a kid and unfortunately has to miss a work week. If the nanny is covered by workers comp, then he or she will have her lost wages as well as medical bills covered for the period missed.
Texas, unlike certain other states, does not mandate workers’ comp coverage for nannies. That means parents are not required to buy a worker’s comp policy covering their nanny.
Parents may, however, voluntarily buy coverage. Those who do so enjoy legal protections, including immunity from a lawsuit filed by a nanny to recover money for his or her injuries.
Parents who choose not to buy workers’ comp insurance are called ‘nonsubscribers’. Nonsubscribers may be liable for punitive damages and also may lose certain defenses to raise in a lawsuit, such as that the injured nanny knew about a danger and voluntarily accepted it, should their nanny sue them for an injury.
If you have questions about whether to buy workers’ comp insurance, contact an employment attorney or call your local Workers’ Compensation Division Field Office at 1 (800) 252-7031. For more information about employer rights and responsibilities regarding workers’ comp insurance, see this publication from the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation.
I Need a Policy!
If you choose to buy workers’ comp insurance, it is important to buy from an insurance company that is licensed by the Texas Department of Insurance. Licensed companies are covered by the Texas Property and Casualty Guaranty Association, which pays claims for insurance companies who cannot pay claims or become insolvent.
If you can’t buy coverage in the voluntary market, you can buy a policy through the Texas Mutual Insurance Company’s START program. This coverage is generally more expensive than the private market. Contact Texas Mutual at 1-800-859-5995 or at www.texasmutual.com.
My Nanny Is Injured — Now What?
If your nanny suffers a work-related injury or illness, see that he or she seeks medical attention immediately.
Next, you are required to file a copy of DWC FORM-001 with your insurance carrier and your injured nanny. You must file this form within eight days of the injury or illness, so act quickly.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact an employment attorney. And be sure to put in place a nanny contract addressing workers’ comp.