Workers shouldn't have to worry about what they are going to do if they are injured at work. The workers' compensation system in Wisconsin helps to protect workers from the financial impacts that come with an on-the-job injury.
People who have never dealt with the workers' compensation system might have some questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about workers' compensation:
Who is covered by workers' compensation?
Almost every worker in the state of Wisconsin is covered under the workers' compensation requirements. The cost of workers' compensation insurance is considered one of the normal costs of operating a business in Wisconsin. Employees can't be expected to cover the cost associated with this program. This means that there can't be payroll deductions or anything similar for the company to recover the cost of premiums.
When does coverage start?
Coverage starts the day you start working. If you get hurt on the first of the job, you are covered. The immediate coverage pays for medical care, but there is a waiting period for wage replacement benefits.
Wage replacement benefits, or disability payments, have a three-day waiting period for temporary disability if you will have to remain off work for fewer than seven days. The waiting period is waived for injuries that require more than seven days off work. For the purpose of counting days, the day of the injury isn't ever compensable.
How much is wage replacement?
Wage replacement benefits are paid at a rate of 66.6 percent of your average weekly pay. There is a limit to the number of weeks that can be paid out. This is based on the type of injury, the location of the injury and the severity.
What is the "Safe Place" statute?
The Safe Place statute states that employers are responsible for creating a safe work space for employees. If there is a violation on the employer's part, there is a 15-percent increase in compensation for the employee, but only up to the statutory maximum that is allowed to be paid.
There is a downside for some employees. If an employee is found to be intoxicated, willfully disobeyed a reasonable safety rule or failed to use an available safety device, the employee faces a 15 percent deduction in compensation up to the state maximum.
One of the most important things for employees to do is to make an accident report as soon as they find out they are injured. The injured employee can choose a doctor for care as long as the medical professional is licensed to practice in the state.