Employ a Nanny in Illinois? Don’t Forget Workers’ Comp

If you employ a nanny in Illinois, you might be legally required to get workers’ compensation insurance — or workers’ comp, for short — covering him or her.  Here’s what you should know.

What It Is

Put simply, workers’ comp is a type of insurance.  It specifically replaces wages and provides medical benefits to employees — such as nannies — who suffer a job-related injury or illness.  The employee, in turn, loses the right to sue his or her employer for causing or contributing to those injuries.

Each state, including Illinois, has its own rules governing workers’ comp.

When You Need It

As noted, Illinois has specific laws governing workers’ comp.

Nannies are considered “domestic employees” under Illinois law.  Thus, if you employ a nanny 40 hours or more per week for 13 weeks or more in a calendar year, you are legally required to provide workers’ comp covering him or her.

If your Illinois nanny works less than 40 hours per week, or 40 hours per week for less than 13 weeks, you are not obligated to purchase workers’ comp insurance.  Even so, you can voluntarily purchase such insurance, and many parents do so given that many nannies are injured on the job.

If you have any questions about Illinois workers’ comp law, contact an employment attorney or call the IL Workers’ Comp Commission at 1 (866) 352-3033.

Where To Get It

Need to buy it?  You have a few options.

First, contact your homeowner’s or umbrella insurer and ask if you have coverage for a domestic employee such as a nanny. If you don’t have coverage, ask if you can add a ‘rider’ to your policy covering your nanny.

Second, you can buy a freestanding policy.   Hundreds of insurance companies provide freestanding workers’ compensation policies for Illinois employers.  For a list of those companies, click here.  Be sure to compare quotes.

Third, you can obtain permission to self-insure.  To qualify, you have to meet certain requirements, including demonstration of sufficient financial strength to meet workers’ comp obligations in a timely manner.  In addition, you must pay a filing fee and complete an application.  Few parents use this option.

Lastly, if you cannot obtain insurance in the private sector, you can sign up in the “market of last resort”.  The residual market is administered by the National Council of Compensation Insurance.  Call 1 (800) 622-4123 and ask for the Illinois assigned risk plan.

Nanny Injured on the Job?

If your nanny is injured on the job, see that he or she seeks medical attention immediately. Don’t delay, as the injury might worsen and lead to additional problems.

Next, contact your workers’ comp carrier as soon as possible and report the injury.  In addition, contact the IL Workers’ Comp Commission, as you will likely need to file Form 45, Employer’s First Report of Injury.

No Insurance?

Let’s say your nanny is injured on the job and you don’t have workers’ comp.  Not good.  You might be fined for failing to comply with Illinois law.  Even worse, you might be required to pay your nanny’s medical bills and lost wages.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact an employment attorney right away.

And remember, put in place a professionally written nanny contract your nanny’s first day of work.  It’s the core legal document between you and your nanny, and you’ll receive better child care for having one.

DISCLAIMER: This post provides information only and not legal advice, and it is not a substitute for an attorney. If you need legal advice, please consult a licensed attorney .