20 Jul Worker’s Compensation for Retail Shops
Chuck was a retail worker whose sole responsibility was to stock merchandise for the customer to purchase. To an outside observer, his retail job might not seem demanding enough for there to ever be a reason for worker’s compensation claims. However, in one short week, Chuck used a box cutter and cut his finger so badly he needed stitches, ran headlong into a support beam in the store as he went to answer the phone, and dropped a portion of a display case on his foot while he cleaned it. He spent the next week in and out of the doctor’s office as he sought treatment for an injured hand, sprained foot, and minor concussion. Now, Chuck’s situation is unique, but it does highlight a couple of scenarios that a retail shop employee could encounter, as well as an example of when worker’s compensation insurance may be needed.
There are a multitude of reasons a retail shop employee might be injured on the job. Some injuries may be more serious than others, but any injury that occurs at the workplace will likely result in medical bills and/or lost time. When this happens, it is the responsibility of the retail shop owner to provide the funds needed to cover these costs. In nearly all situations, worker’s compensation is that funding source.
First of all, it should be noted that in a majority of states in the nation, purchasing worker’s compensation coverage for a business is not optional, but mandatory. Only a handful of states leave the decision to provide coverage up to the employer. With a few exceptions, retail shop owners must purchase a policy that will cover all of their employees, regardless of the number of employees or their employment status (part-time vs. full-time). The cost of the premium must be paid by the employer as well- absolutely no money can be withheld from an employee’s wages to pay for a worker’s compensation policy.
Second, it is important for a retail shop owner to know where to look for an affordable, yet comprehensive, worker’s compensation policy. Their first contact may be with a state’s division of worker’s compensation, but it is also possible to obtain a policy through an industry’s trade union or through a private insurance agency.
Lastly, a retail shop employer should always keep in mind why they are purchasing a policy for their business. If an employee is injured on the job, worker’s compensation will cover the cost of those medical bills and other expenses, as well as provide the injured employee with a stipend to make up for lost wages (typically around two-thirds of their normal salary). Additionally, when an employee signs the paperwork to receive worker’s compensation benefits, they are typically signing away their right to sue for damages as well.
Retail shops provide a wide range of different services, each of which presents their own potential for injuries on the job. Sitting down with an agent who is familiar with worker’s compensation insurance will ensure that you receive the right type and amount of coverage for your business. Don’t delay- take this important step today!
All information is general in nature and is intended to provide guidance only. It is up to you to request specific coverage options, the agency and agent do not bear this responsibility. Always read the policy if there is a questions about coverage or a claim. If any information herein should conflict with your actual policy’s specific language, the policy language will be controlling.