As many of you know, there is currently a labor shortage following the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected every industry, and our insureds are each managing it in their own way. One of the common actions we’ve seen our clients take is to hire a more youthful workforce between the ages of 12 and 18. As a result, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions around a cutoff age for coverage.
In other words, is there an age limit on workers’ compensation coverage for these workers?
The short answer to this question is no. There is no age restriction for workers’ compensation as long as the employee meets the documentation and permit requirements under the policy. To meet these requirements previously in Indiana, all employees between the ages of 12 and 18 must have had registered a work permit. Because a work permit is not typically required for employees over the age of 18, many employers were unaware they had to follow this step for hires under the age of 18. Unfortunately, this is the number one reason workers’ compensation claims for youth employees are denied.
Effective July 1, 2021, however, the youth work permit system in Indiana has been replaced with a new process called the Youth Employment System.
You can access the Youth Employment System (YES) online. Under the new system, you only need to register youth employees if you employ five or more workers under the age of 18. If this is not the case for you, then your youth employees may be treated with the same procedure as your adult employees.
If you are in a state or county that still utilizes a work permit system, you can look to your local school district and county governing body for assistance. Typically, work permits are obtained from the accredited high school in the district where the youth resides. Note that in order to obtain a work permit, the youth worker may need to be enrolled in school and hold the appropriate visa if they are not a permanent US resident. You can expect to pay between $400 and $500 for the permit.
Perhaps you are a parent with children on site doing odd jobs for money.
Perhaps you have formally hired several youths in your neighborhood.
If there is an injury of some sort to a worker under the age of 18 and you have registered your workers in the Youth Employment System, or you have a work permit registered for the affected employee where applicable, then you can rest assured that the injury will be covered under your workers’ compensation policy.
If you have questions about how to register your five or more employees between the ages of 12 and 18 or need to file a workers’ compensation claim, I invite you to contact me directly at 219-809-2104 or email@example.com for more information.
This article was published in the Fall 2021 issue of the General Insurance Services Risk & Business Magazine. Access the full publication here