Workers Compensation Laws in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, employers with fewer than 4 employees are exempt from having to provide worker's compensation insurance.  Also, licensed real estate salespeople or real estate brokers are exempt if most payments for services are sales-related, rather than from an hourly wage. Employers are not required to provide coverage for agricultural or domestic employees, either, with an exception.  If an employer has 25 or more agricultural employees or laborers working for more than 13 weeks, these employees must be covered by worker's compensation insurance.

Aside from those exemptions, though, employers must provide worker' compensation insurance coverage for their employees.  They can use a competitive state fund, private carriers, groups of employers or they may self-insure.

Rhode Island Worker's Compensation Benefits

A percentage of worker's wages is used to calculate Rhode Island worker's compensation benefits for temporary total disability, permanent total disability and permanent partial disability.  The benefit equals 75% of the worker's earnings after taxes.  There is no minimum weekly payment for any of the three classifications of disability, thought the maximum is the same on all three: $882.  

For temporary total disability and permanent total disability, there's an extra $9 benefit paid weekly for each dependent, which can include a stay-at-home spouse, as long as the total benefit doesn't exceed 80% of the worker's average weekly wages.

The benefit for temporary total disability and permanent total disability will continue for the duration of the disability. Benefits for permanent partial disability can last a maximum of 312 weeks, with the total amount not exceeding $275,184. If an employer can't provide work for this employee, or show that there's available and suitable work out there, and the employee can't find work, then the benefits can be paid as if for total disability, indefinitely.

Death and Disfigurement, and Other Benefits

Under worker's compensation laws in Rhode Island, the Workers' Compensation Commission will decide what amount of benefits is proper in the case of permanent bodily disfigurement. That amount would then be paid for up 500 weeks.

A death benefit, including a burial allowance, is payable to the spouse or spouse and children based on a percentage of the worker's wages. Attorney fees are decided on a case by case basic, with no statute outlining percentages and fees.

Medical benefits are covered in full for the duration of treatment.  Physical and vocational rehabilitation benefits are available, and the worker may be able to receive compensation for occupational hearing loss.

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