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Do Missouri Non-Profits Need Workers Compensation Insurance?

According to the Missouri State law, business owners are required to take out workers compensation policies for the safety of their employees. However, they must meet certain conditions.

If you have less than five people working for you, then the state doesn’t require you to have workers compensation. However, if you’re activating in the construction industry or similarly high-risk industries, then you need workers compensation even if you have just one employee.

What About Volunteers?

In Missouri, volunteers do not automatically have workers compensation. The same stays true for independent contractors, freelancers, or even child care workers.

Therefore, employers aren’t necessarily required to take out workers compensation policy if

  • They are a tax-exempt organization;
  • Their volunteers do not get wages;
  • The services of the volunteers are purely charitable or voluntary.

However, the employer (in this case, the nonprofit) is still responsible for the safety of their volunteers. As such, they are liable for damages in case of an accident.

What Does the Law Say?

Simply put, a workers compensation claim means the employees get coverage for medical bills and time off work if they injure themselves while performing their job. At the same time, it means the employee cannot sue the employer unless they can prove malicious intent.

Take away workers compensation, and employers are not liable for damages. Nonprofits who do not have any form of insurance for their volunteers are vulnerable in the event someone gets hurt because the victim can file suit for personal injury.

As such, opting to leave out workers compensation for your volunteers can save you a few dollars on insurance, but it can also cost you greatly if one of your volunteers gets hurt while working for you. All they’ll have to do is prove negligence, and it was your negligence that leads to their accident.

A Simple Solution to Your Problems

Non-profit organizations can sometimes ask people to work in a high-risk environment. The most common example is that of animal shelters, who regularly have volunteers helping out with the animals. If the shelter does not carry an insurance policy, it can be liable for damages if someone gets bitten by an animal from the shelter.

Workers compensation is not mandatory for NGOs, but it doesn’t mean they cannot acquire it. It may be advisable for some organizations to consider paying for workers compensation insurance both to protect the health and safety of their volunteers and protect themselves from liability in the event of an accident.

Think of the workers compensation insurance as a safety net. Even if your organization is not required by state law to carry this policy, you should really consider doing so regardless.

If you have been injured on the job in Missouri, get in touch with an experienced workers compensation lawyer to learn more about your legal options. Give us a call 24/7 at (816) 399-3706 for a FREE consultation.

Updated: June 14, 2019

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