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What to know about workers' compensation in New Mexico

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January 27, 2022
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What to know about workers' compensation in New Mexico

Workers’ compensation, which can provide cash and medical care to employees injured on the job, and benefits to survivors in cases of a work-related death, began with a federal program in 1908. It gave benefits to civilian workers whose jobs were hazardous and became the first kind of social insurance established across the United States.

By 1916, the rest of the federal workforce was covered. States meanwhile were enacting their workers’ compensation laws. All but six states and the District of Columbia had them by 1921.

Today, programs exist in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The details of each program vary by state. Four states—Ohio, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming—require insurance be obtained through a state-administered fund rather than through a private insurer. Another option is to self-insure for approved businesses. Most states require some businesses to provide coverage and can levy substantial fines for failing to comply. South Dakota and Texas leave the choice to businesses, although Texas makes an exception for construction companies with a government contract.

Simply Business reviewed rules, statistics, and other information about workers’ compensation insurance—including the comprehensive breakdown by the National Federation of Independent Business—to offer a breakdown of what workers’ comp requirements in each state. Rules are subject to updates periodically, so it’s important to stay up-to-date based on your trade and location.

Workers' Compensation in New Mexico

Businesses with at least three employees must have workers’ compensation insurance, even if only one of those employees is in New Mexico. Agricultural employers are now required to have coverage. For those businesses with fewer employees, coverage is voluntary. An exception is construction businesses that must insure how ever many workers they have. Some exemptions: domestic servants and real estate salespeople. New Mexico has a state-administered fund.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Costs, and Coverage, an October 2021 report from the National Academy of Social Insurance, found that total benefits paid to employees rose by 0.4% nationwide from 2015 to 2019. Cash benefits rose by 2%, but medical benefits fell by 1.1%. Standardized benefits fell— cash by 14% and medical benefits by 16.7%—over the same period.

Keep reading to see what workers' compensation looks like for other states in your area.

Workers' Compensation in Arizona

Arizona mandates workers’ compensation coverage for all businesses that hire at least one person, even if they are family members. When is workers comp insurance typically not needed? Working partners, domestic workers in your home, independent contractors and so-called casual workers, hired on an at-need basis, need not be covered. Sole proprietors can choose not to have coverage. Fines for failing to provide coverage start at $1,000 and can rise to $10,000 for a third instance within five years.

Workers' Compensation in Colorado

Employers with at least one full-time or part-time worker must have coverage. But there are a number of exemptions, among them those who do maintenance or repair work for less than $2,000 a year, real estate agents and brokers who are paid by commission, independent contractors who have no employees, and some drivers. Sole proprietors and corporate officers can opt out. A business without coverage can be closed and fined up to $500 for every day without insurance. If a worker is hurt, the employer must pay the claim plus an additional penalty of 25% of the worker’s benefits.

This story originally appeared on Simply Business and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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