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Workers' Compensation
Employer Responsibilities Part
1 of 3: Who needs it?

Workers’ compensation is a system of no-fault insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees for work-related injuries and diseases. The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law (TWCL) sets forth employer responsibilities relating to workers’ compensation in the state. Due to recent legislative changes, the information provided in this Employment Law Summary applies to injuries that occurred on or after July 1, 2014. Prior versions of the TWCL may apply for earlier dates of injury.

The Division of Workers’ Compensation, part of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, investigates and enforces employer responsibilities under the TWCL.


The TWCL requires employers to maintain adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage if they:

Have five or more full- or part-time employees;

Are construction service providers (exemptions may apply); and

Are coal mine operators.

Employers may obtain coverage from an insurance company or become self-insured. A self-insured employer uses its assets, rather than an insurance policy, to insure against its obligations under the TWCL.

To become self-insured in Tennessee, employers must obtain a certificate of authority from the state commissioner of commerce and insurance. This requires maintaining at least $500,000 in security with the Department of Commerce and Insurance and providing annual evidence of financial ability to pay all claims that may arise under the TWCL. The TWCL also allows certain groups of 10 or more employers to pool their resources to qualify as self-insurers.


Regardless of whether an employer is subject to the TWCL’s coverage requirements, any entity that uses the services of at least one other person for pay must post and maintain a printed notice regarding workers’ compensation.

At minimum, the notice must include:

A general description of the duties and obligations of both the employer and employees under the TWCL;

The name, address and telephone number of the individual to notify in the event of a work-related injury;

A toll-free number and address for the Division from which employers or employees may obtain additional information; and

The name, address and telephone number of an employer representative who can confirm whether the entity is subject to the TWCL.

Posted 11:17 AM

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