Workers’ compensation insurance for nannies and other household employees is becoming a crucial issue for household employers to address, whether your state requires you to have coverage or not. If your nanny is injured or becomes sick while working, you may be responsible for medical bills and lost wages if you do not have coverage. The following example demonstrates another issue that may arise, especially during the summertime.
Yesterday your nanny went outside while working in your home and was stung by a bee. She’s allergic and had to go the ER. Are you responsible for workers’ compensation for bee stings?
Possibly. Whether or not this work injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits will depend on a few factors. The sting was not work-related, but the nanny was on the clock. Your workers’ compensation carrier will have to assess whether or not the sting arose out of and in the course of employment. A preexisting condition or existing illness is often only covered under workers’ compensation if it was worsened by working conditions or by performing the job duties. It may come down to how much either party wants to press its case. An ER visit may or may not be worth an insurance battle and the time of the lawyers involved.
We recommend you offer the workers’ compensation paperwork to your nanny, letting her know that she must file a claim in order to receive any workers’ compensation benefits. If she chooses not to file, then ask her to put the decision in writing and note on the workers’ compensation form that the nanny did not want to file a claim. Remind her that you will not retaliate against her either way.
In most circumstances, we recommend allowing your employee to file a claim and contacting your insurance carrier to inform them of any concerns. Once the carrier has the claim and related information, they can analyze the claim and decide how much they want to contest the benefits. In general, it’s best to let them handle the complicated appeals and approval process. After all, they want to control costs just like you do.
No matter how this particular claim plays out, you should inspect your home and arrange for safe removal of any beehives or other pest infestations that present a hazard.