Workers Compensation FAQs

The Kansas Department of Labor Workers Compensation Division is responsible for the administration of the Kansas Workers Compensation laws and rules. The division focuses on ensuring employees injured at work, employers, health care providers and insurance carriers receive timely, impartial and fair claim resolution.

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What is Workers Compensation insurance?

It is an insurance policy that is provided by the employer (by law) to pay employee benefits for job-related injuries, disability or death. The present law covers all Kansas employers except for those in certain agricultural pursuits or those with a gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less. All payroll is taken into account, including that paid in Kansas or elsewhere. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll. Per K.A.R. 51-11-6, the provision in K.S.A. 44-505 excluding the payroll of workers who are members of the employer’s family shall not apply to corporate employers. A corporate employer’s payroll for purposes of determining whether the employer is subject to the workers compensation act shall be determined by the total amount of payroll paid to all corporate employees even when a corporate employee has elected out of the workers compensation act pursuant to K.S.A. 44-543.

Who is considered an employee under Kansas statutes?

Under the definition of  K.S.A. 44-508(b), a 'Workman' or 'Employee' or 'worker' means any person who has entered into the employment of or works under any contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer." The technical definition is quite broad and lengthy and includes all employees whether or not they are full-time, part-time, seasonal, adults, minors or others who have been hired to do certain jobs. The critical test in determining whether or not someone is an employee is the degree of control the employer exercises over the worker.

Do all employers have to carry Workers Compensation on their employees?

Yes. All employers, except those in certain agricultural pursuits or with a gross annual payroll of $20,000 or less, must provide Workers Compensation insurance for all employees (including family members, part and full-time workers, and leased employees). All payroll is taken into account, including that paid outside Kansas. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, the wages paid to the owners and any of their family members are not used in the computation of the gross annual payroll. 

The provision in K.S.A 44-505 excluding the payroll of workers who are members of the employer's family shall not apply to corporate employers.

Which Kansas employers are excluded from Workers Compensation?

Employment categories excluded from the law are:

  • Certain agricultural pursuits
  • Realtors who qualify as independent contractors
  • Firefighters belonging to a firefighters relief association which has waived coverage under the workers compensation law
  • Sole proprietors, LLC members and partners
      • All other employees would still need to be covered if payroll is greater than $20,000
  • Certain owner-operator vehicle drivers covered by their own occupational accident insurance policy

Can employers elect in or out of coverage?

Elections in or out of the Workers Compensation Act are options available to employers or employees. Depending on the circumstances, options may be available for:

  • Non-covered employers, those with payrolls of $20,000 or less or certain agricultural pursuits
  • Corporate employees owning 10 percent or more of stock
  • Individuals, proprietors or partnerships
  • Employers seeking coverage for volunteers and other non-covered workers
  • Volunteer directors, officers or trustees of a nonprofit organization

What are the employer's responsibilities when an accident occurs?

Per K.S.A. 44-557, "it is...the duty of every employer to make or cause to be made a report to the director* of any accident, or claimed or alleged accident, to any employee which occurs in the course of the employee’s employment and of which the employer or the employer’s supervisor has knowledge, which report shall be made upon a form to be prepared by the director**, within 28 days, after the receipt of such knowledge, if the personal injuries which are sustained by such accidents, are sufficient wholly or partially to incapacitate the person injured from labor or service for more than the remainder of the day, shift or turn on which such injuries were sustained."

As outlined in K.A.R. 51-9-17, all insurance carriers, group pools and self-insurers are required to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to file First Reports of Injury (FROI) and Subsequent Reports of Injury (SROI) using the Release 3 standards. For details contact Techs and Stats, Division of Workers Compensation at (785) 296-4000 or (800) 332-0353.

Immediately upon learning of an employee's injury or death, the employer must furnish written information to the employee or employee's dependents on available benefits (using K-WC 27-A or K-WC 270-A below), the claims process, an employer or insurance company contact for workers compensation claims, and other matters as required by law.

* As of January 1, 2014, by “make or cause to be made a report to the director” is meant that an employer must report to the employer’s insurer for workers compensation any accident witnessed by the employer, claimed or alleged with sufficient timeliness to allow the insurer to file the accident report with the division within 28 days, as required by K.A.R. 51-9-17.

** The requisite form for reporting by the insurer as of January 1, 2014 is outlined in K.A.R. 51-9-17.

Can I purchase a Workers Compensation policy from the state of Kansas and if not, who do I contact?

No. Workers compensation insurance coverage shall be obtained by:

  • Contacting a Kansas licensed insurance agent
  • Contacting the Kansas Insurance Department for information on group-funded pools
  • Contacting the Division of Workers Compensation for information on self-insurance

Can an employer pay claims out of pocket for Worker Compensation injuries sustained by an employee?

Employers must provide for payment of claims in one of three ways:

  1. Workers Compensation insurance: obtained from a licensed insurance carrier. The employer pays the premiums and the insurance company pays the claims. The insurance carriers are regulated by the Kansas Insurance Department.
  2. Self-insurance: an individual employer must demonstrate to the state the financial ability to pay any claims that might arise. This program is administered by the Division of Workers Compensation.
  3. Group-funded pool: a group of employers meeting certain statutory requirements may form a self-insurance program to jointly insure their ability to pay claims. This program is administered by the Kansas Department of Insurance.

I still need help. Who should I contact?

You can contact the division at (785) 296-4000, (800) 332-0353 or

The Division of Workers Compensation has a Speakers Bureau with experts who can speak on fraud and abuse, coverage and compliance, medical services and the fee schedule and general Workers Compensation issues.