In Pennsylvania, any employer who employs one or more people is required by state law to provide them with workers’ compensation insurance. But what does the law say about workers' compensation for the self-employed? If you are self-employed, or a “sole proprietor,” the state does not require any company to provide you with insurance, nor does it require you to get it for yourself. However, a self-employed person can get workers’ compensation insurance, but it may or may not be worth pursuing.
Having workers' compensation may be advantageous if you’re an independent contractor in a high-risk industry like construction. Furthermore, a company may even be reluctant to hire you if you don’t have insurance, as it may become quite expensive for them if you get injured on the job without it. Some companies will even require independent contractors to have workers’ compensation insurance as a condition for hiring.
How Can I Get Worker’s Compensation Insurance as a Self-Employed Worker?
Unfortunately, purchasing workers’ compensation insurance as a self-employed person can be challenging and expensive. You may have to spend a good deal of time researching your options. Most large insurance companies will not sell workers’ compensation insurance to a self-employed individual, as they do not view it as a worthwhile investment. Your best option would be to inquire with privately-owned insurance companies or pursue assistance from the State Worker’s Insurance Fund (SWIF).
SWIF was created to help Pennsylvania companies and workers afford insurance. If you are a sole proprietor who performs work for a particular company, you may submit SWIF’s application for “Voluntary Election of Coverage” to become eligible for workers’ compensation. However, by submitting this form you are agreeing to become a legal employee of that company for the purpose of receiving the coverage. If this does not align with your needs or goals, you should pursue the former option of finding an insurance company that will sell you workers’ compensation insurance at a rate you can afford.