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Workers Compensation in Minnesota

Jason Metz

Minnesota requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers compensation insurance typically pays medical bills and some lost income for a worker who's injured while doing a job-related task. Work injuries that may be covered by workers comp range from burns to muscle injuries to broken burns.

Minnesota workers compensation law details who must be covered, who can be exempt from coverage as well as the limits of workers comp payments. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in Minnesota. The Minnesota Commerce Department also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Which employees are covered by Minnesota workers compensation law?

Can any employees opt out of Minnesota workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers can. A sole proprietor is excluded but can elect coverage.

Executive officers holding at least 25% of stock in a closely-held corporation with less than 22,880 hours of payroll in the preceding calendar year, and the officers spouse, parent or child (regardless of age) may be excluded. Executive officers of family farm corporations, and the officer's spouse, parent or child may be excluded. In both cases, coverage can be elected

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in Minnesota?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in Minnesota are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? No.

Agricultural employers? Yes, an executive officer of a family farm; a partner engaged in a farm operation; spouse, parent or child of an executive officer of a family farm corporation; farm families exchanging work; a person employed by a family farm as defined in Minnesota statute § 176.011, subdivision 11a (obligated to pay cash wages to farm laborers less than $8,000 or less than the state average weekly wage (SAWW) with liability and medical coverage equal to $300,000 and $5,000).

Domestic employers? Yes, if a household worker in a private home earns less than $1,000 in cash in a three-month period or in the previous year.

Independent contractors? Yes.

Casual employees? No.

Volunteers? No (volunteers are not employees except as specified in 176.011, subd. 1).

Professional athletes? No.

Minnesota workers comp medical benefits

Is there a Minnesota workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?

Some limitations on care specified in the workers' compensation treatment parameters in M.R. 5221.6040 et. seq.; treatment by certain complementary and alternative health care providers is not compensable; M.S. 176.135, subd. 2

Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employee.

If an employee is covered by a certified managed care plan, the employee must seek treatment from a participating provider in the certified plan unless the employee chooses to receive treatment from a provider with whom the employee has a documented history of treatment.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in Minnesota

Workers comp usually pays an employee a portion of their income when they can't work because of a job-related injury. State laws outline limits on the disability length and payment amounts based upon both temporary and permanent disability.

How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage at the time of injury, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $130 or the worker's actual weekly wage, whichever is less.

Weekly maximum: $102% of the statewide weekly wage (SAWW) for the preceding calendar year.

Maximum length of TDD benefits: 400 weeks.

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's pre-injury wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: 65% of the statewide weekly wage (SAWW).

Weekly maximum: 102% of the SAWW for the preceding calendar year.

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? Yes.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: Until age 67 (rebuttable presumption of retirement).

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

Percentage of disability multiplied by statutory dollar amount, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $130 or the worker's actual weekly wage, whichever is less.

Weekly maximum: 102% of statewide weekly wage (SAWW).

Fatality benefits under Minnesota workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $15,000

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum: None.

Dependency benefits, weekly maximum: 102% of statewide weekly wage (SAWW) for the preceding year.

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; age 25 if the child is a student; benefits can continue if child is disabled.

Other injuries covered by Minnesota workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? Yes, for post-traumatic stress disorder according to the DSM-V, for dates of injury on or after Oct. 1, 2013.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Yes.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes.

Disfigurement? Yes.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report