OhioBWC - Basics:  Employees of sole proprietors and partnerships

Coverage information by employee types

Employees of sole proprietors and partnerships
Employers who operate as sole proprietors or partnerships are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage on their employees even though coverage on the sole proprietor and partners is optional.

Independent contractor vs. employee
Sometimes employers mistakenly consider a worker to be an independent contractor and neglect to provide workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer controls the working hours, selection of materials, traveling routes and quality of performance of a worker, an employer-employee relationship exists and the employer is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for that employee.

Domestic workers
Domestic workers are those employees who are hired to work in and around the home. Job duties of domestic workers would include:

  • Cooks;
  • Gardeners;
  • Housekeepers;
  • Babysitters.
If a domestic worker earns $160 or more from one employer during a calendar quarter, the employer is required to provide workers compensation coverage for that domestic worker. BWC defines a calendar quarter as any consecutive 13-week period.

Corporate officers
A corporate officer by definition is an employee of a corporation, with the exception of a volunteer corporate officer of a non-profit organization. Effective Sept. 29, 2015, BWC will no longer require nonprofits to have workers' compensation coverage for their volunteer corporate officers. In turn, this means nonprofits will no longer need to pay premiums for these individuals.

Active executive officers of a corporation, except for an individual incorporated as a corporation or officers of a family farm corporation, are considered employees for workers' compensation purposes. The workers' compensation policy of the corporation covers the corporate officers, and the employer must report wages paid to corporate officers.

Minimum/Maximum payroll reporting requirements
The minimum reportable amount for an unpaid officer is applied if the officer is active in the business. Officers are considered active if they are engaged in any work on behalf of the corporation.

Non-officer board members are not subject to the officer minimum/maximum rules.

Corporate officers of Subchapter S corporations, except for an individual incorporated as a corporation, must report a reasonable wage for the services they perform.

Volunteers performing emergency service duties
Volunteers generally are not covered by workers’ compensation because they receive no wages. However, public employers such as cities, townships and villages, are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for the volunteer emergency service personnel they engage. Examples of volunteer emergency service occupations requiring coverage would be:

  • Volunteer firefighters;
  • Volunteer police officers;
  • Volunteer emergency medical technicians.
Employers must report at least $300 per enrolled person per year with a minimum reportable payroll of $4,500.

Volunteers performing non-emergency duties
Public employers may elect to cover volunteer workers who perform non-emergency duties and persons assigned volunteer work instead of a fine or jail sentence. These volunteers are reported by completing form U-69, Contract for Coverage of Political Subdivisions (Non-profit Organizations, etc.). Return the completed contract with a roster of all personnel including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and a copy of the court order signed by the judge, if applicable.

Individuals performing volunteer services for private employers, including non-profit organizations such as churches, are not covered under the workers' compensation policy of the organization.