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When is Workers’ Compensation Required in the State of Illinois?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

If you get hurt at work in the state of Illinois, you may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, not all employers are required to carry such insurance. In this article, we explain when workers’ compensation is required in the state of Illinois. 

Employer/Employee Relationship 

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (“IWCA”), an employer/employee relationship is required for a worker to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Such coverage is required in nearly all fields of work and must be carried by the majority of employers. Workers’ compensation coverage begins for a new employee as soon as he or she is officially hired. In other words, there is no workers’ compensation waiting period for new employees in Illinois.

Definition of Employer 

The IWCA defines “employer” as:

  • The state and each city, county, township, town, incorporated village, school district, body politic, or municipal corporation in Illinois. 
  • Every firm, person, or public or private corporation who has any person in service or under any contract for hire.
  • Anyone engaging in any enterprise or business who undertakes to do any work specified in the IWCA.

Definition of Employee

The IWCA defines “employee” as: 

  • Every person in the service of the state or other governmental entity, including any person employed by a contractor who has contracted with the state or other governmental entity.
  • Every person in the service of another under any contract of hire.


The IWCA expressly excludes from coverage any person performing services as a broker-salesman, real estate broker, or salesman when such persons are paid by commission only. Thus, workers who fit into this category are unlikely to succeed on a workers’ compensation claim.

Who Must Provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage?

Illinois law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Although the IWCA makes workers’ compensation insurance optional for some types of employers, employers in extra hazardous fields may not opt-out of providing workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. Examples of extra hazardous fields under the IWCA include: 

  • Construction work
  • Excavation work
  • Electrical work
  • Demolition work
  • Warehouse work
  • Any enterprise that uses sharp-edged cutting tools, grinders, or similar instruments
  • Any enterprise in which explosives are used in dangerous amounts
  • Any business in which gasoline, electric or other power-driven equipment is used

Hire an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney 

If you’ve suffered an injury in the course and scope of your employment in Illinois, you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help you obtain financial compensation for your work-related injury. When you come to us for assistance, we will do everything we can to ensure that you receive full compensation for your work-related injury. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.