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Workers' Compensation for North Carolina Businesses

What are the legal requirements for workers’ comp in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires that all businesses that employ three or more employees, including those operating as corporations, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and partnerships, obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers for purposes of paying workers’ compensation insurance benefits to their employees.

Exceptions to this requirement include (a) employees of certain railroads; (b) casual employees, i.e., persons whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession or occupation of the employer; (c) domestic servants directly employed by the household; (d) farm laborers when fewer than 10 full-time, non-seasonal farm laborers are regularly employed by the same employer; (e) federal government employees in North Carolina; and (f) “sellers of agricultural products for the producers thereof on commission or for other compensation, paid by the producers, provided the product is prepared for sale by the producer.”

What does workers’ comp insurance cover in North Carolina?

In the event of a workplace accident, North Carolina workers’ comp insurance provides both medical coverage and payments for lost wages and permanent disabilities. This can include temporary or permanent benefits.

Temporary workers’ comp benefits refer to the scenarios of when your employee is unable to work for more than one week, your worker is able to receive compensation for the lost wages, which are called “lost time benefits.” Your employee’s doctor must certify your employee is not able to work.

Lost time benefits are 2/3 of your employee’s monthly income and determined by your employee’s earnings the month before the individual gets sick or is injured in the workplace. This benefit is considered temporary and only lasts while your employee’s doctor is actively treating you. When your employee’s doctor determines that your team member is able to return to work, your employee will receive a letter from the insurance company called a Notice of Claim Status, which clarifies that the doctor said you can officially work again.

If your employee is unable to return to work full-time or can only do modified work, and as a result they are earning less than they usually do, your employee can continue to get time lost benefits, which will be two-thirds of the difference in their earnings.

Permanent workers’ comp benefits refer to the scenario when your employee’s doctor finds that your employee’s condition is stationary, or not expected to improve any further. In this case, the doctor will determine whether your employee has a permanent disability. If your employee does, the doctor will give your worker a percentage of disability. This number, along with your employee’s age, education, work history helps determine your employee’s rate of compensation.

What types of injuries are covered with workers’ comp insurance in North Carolina?

North Carolina state law determines what types of injuries are covered by workers’ comp insurance, but there are general guidelines that can help you understand what typically qualifies for a workers’ comp claim.

These include:

  • No intentional self-harm, harm that results from drug or alcohol use, or fighting. 
  • Must fall within the “course and scope” of employment. If you get into a fender bender on your way home from work after you’ve clocked out for the day, that’s unlikely to qualify.  
  • Long-term occupational injuries, including back strain from repetitive motion. When you think of work-related injuries, you probably think of one-time events — but damage can occur over a long period of time. As long as the injury or illness is clearly associated with the employee’s work responsibilities, it may be eligible. 

North Carolina Statistics*

*2017 business stats provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

1.6 million

number of North Carolina residents employed by small businesses


90,909

number of workplace injuries


6,684

height in feet of Mount Mitchell


300+

number of craft breweries


37,000

miles of freshwater streams


North Carolina Businesses We Cover with Workers' Compensation Insurance

Food & Beverage

Bars, Bistros, Cafeterias/Buffets, Candy Stores, Caterers, Coffee Shops, Doughnut Shops, Fast Casual, Fast Food, Fine Dining, Health Supplement Stores, Juice Shops, Tea Houses, Taverns and Nightclubs

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Tech Services

Data Processing, Ecommerce, Hosting, Graphic Design, Network Installation/Repair, Office Machine Installation/Repair, Programming, Strategy & Management Consulting Services, and Software/Web Development (includes SOLOpreneuers!)

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Legal Services

Athlete/Actor/Entertainer Agents, Court Reporters, Lawyers & Attorneys at Law, Notaries and Transcription

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General Retail

Bakeries, Beer/Wine/Liquor Stores, Butcher/Meat Markets, Convenience Stores/Gas Stations, Discount Stores, Fish, Seafood, Fruit & Vegetable Markets, Grocery Stores, Laundromats, Pet Stores, Pharmacies/Drug Stores, Specialty Food Stores

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Educational Services

Computer Training, Cosmetology/Barber Schools, Exam Preparation/Tutoring, Fine Art Schools, Language Schools, Libraries/Archives, Management Training, Professional Training, & Translation/Interpretation Services

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Manufacturing

Microbreweries (less than 15,000 barrels produced per year) & Wine Making (no growing or production of grapes/fruit)

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Personal Services

Barber Shops/Salons, Cemeteries/Mausoleums, Crematoriums, Funeral Homes, Interior Design, Pet Kennels/Groomers, Photography/Photofinishing, Gyms, Nail Salons, Self-Storage, Tanning Salons, Tattoo/Piercing, and Wedding/Event Planners

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Clothing Retail

Bridal Stores, Clothing Stores, Dry Cleaners, Formal Wear/Costume Rentals, Luggage & Leather Goods Stores, Shoe Retail/Repair, and Tailor Shops

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Personal Product Retail

Art Galleries/Stores, Auto Parts, Beauty/Cosmetics, Bike Stores, Bookstores, Camera/Photo Supplies, Cell Phone Retail/Repair, Computer Stores, Jewelry Stores, Musical Instruments, Sporting Goods , Tobacco/Vaping & Video Games

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Medical Professions

Blood Banks, Dental Labs, Dentists/Orthodontists, GP/Medical Specialists, Kidney Dialysis Centers, Medical Diagnostics & Testing, and Veterinarians

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Architecture & Engineering Services

Architects & Drafting, Engineering, Surveyors, & Window Treatment Stores (we do not cover construction contractors or trucking companies)

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Financial Services

Accounting, Auditors, Banks/Credit Unions, Bookkeeping, Collection Agencies, Financial Advisors/Trust Companies, Mortgage & Loan Brokers, Payroll Services, Tax Preparation, Title & Title Insurance

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Scientific Services

Scientific Research & Development/Consulting, Technical Consulting, & Environmental Consulting

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Office, Home, & Garden

Hearing Aid Stores, Hobby/Craft/Art Stores, Gift/Novelty Stores, Florists, Floor Covering Stores, Mailing/Packaging Stores, Models/Toy/Games, Office Supplies, Optical Stores, Paint/Wallpaper Stores, Perfume Stores, Plumbing & Taxidermists

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Therapeutic Services

Acupuncture, Chiropractors, Mental Health Practitioners, and Physical & Occupational Therapy

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Explore commonly asked questions about business type, industry and state.

To put it simply, your business is covered. Just like that.In most cases, all of your employees are covered by workers' compensation insurance, including subcontractors (given they provide you a Certificate of Insurance). However, a Certificate of Insurance (COI) isn't a guarantee of coverage (policy may have cancelled since issuance). You should request periodic COIs throughout the contract.
Workers' compensation insurance provides all state required benefits, including reasonable and necessary medical treatment and wage replacement, for employees injured in the course and scope of employment.
In most states, it’s required for small business owners to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. In the event that an employee is injured in the course and scope of your employment, workers' compensation insurance protects you from costly lawsuits and provides state required compensation for the employee, including lost wages and medical expenses.
The estimated premium is based on estimated payroll (at the beginning of the policy). The final premium is based on actual payroll (at the end of the policy) for the policy period (usually 12 months). In the event your payroll changes, we'll work with you on adjusting your policy.
Yes, the workers' compensation policy covers all of your employees. Significant changes to your payroll should be reported to Cerity. This will help mitigate having a large additional premium due at the end of your policy period.
Cerity is a data-services company that is a licensed insurance producer that provides comprehensive workers' compensation insurance for American businesses. In less than five minutes, a small business owner can have a quote and can be protected as soon as the next day. In other words, your business is covered. Just like that. We are backed by Employers Holdings, Inc., a workers' comp industry veteran of over 100 years, EHI is reimagining how to purchase workers compensation insurance.
You do not need any documents to apply - we told you it was simple! All you need to obtain a quote is tell us a few quick things about your business and we should be able to get you a quote.