WSI is the sole provider and administrator of workers’ compensation in North Dakota. WSI is an exclusive employer-financed, no-fault insurance system covering workplace injuries, illnesses, and death. North Dakota law does not allow private insurers to underwrite workers' compensation insurance in North Dakota. 

North Dakota’s Workers’ Compensation law, with limited exceptions, requires all employers to insure all employees including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and occasional workers before employees begin working.

It is unlawful to deduct any portion of the premium from wages or salary of any employee. No agreement by an employee to waive rights to compensation under Title 65 is valid.

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An employer is a person who engages or receives the services of another for remuneration (meaning money or substitute for money). It includes individuals, the state, corporations and their officers, partnerships and their partners, limited liability companies and their managers, associations, legal representatives of a deceased person, receivers, and trustees. 

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Coverage is required if:

  • An employer hires employees to work in North Dakota
  • Employees are working at a business location in North Dakota
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Any employer whose employment results in significant contacts with North Dakota, or enters into employment agreements in North Dakota must purchase coverage with WSI. An employer has significant contacts with North Dakota when:

  • Any employee earns or would have been expected to earn 25% or more of the employee’s gross annual wage or income from that employer for services rendered within North Dakota; or
  • 25% of the employer's gross annual payroll is payable to employees for services rendered in North Dakota
  • An employer hires an employee in North Dakota for work in North Dakota. If you come into North Dakota and hire workers here, WSI coverage is required

An employer may not employ any person, or receive the fruits of the labor of any person, in a hazardous employment as defined in this title, without first applying for Workforce Safety and Insurance coverage for the protection of employees by notifying the organization of the intended employment, the nature of the intended employment, and the estimated payroll expenditure for the coming 12-month period. See North Dakota Century Code § 65-04-33.

An employer who opens an account with WSI is obligated to report all wages earned in North Dakota to WSI. See North Dakota Century Code § 65-08-01 (5)

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If you have employees working for you at this time and you do not have an active WSI account, you are uninsured in the state of North Dakota. Since you are required by law to cover your workers against injuries, you will be required to pay premium for the period you were not insured. You may also be subject to penalties and interest for failure to secure coverage.

An employer may be liable for the actual cost and reserves of any claim attributable to the employer during the time the employer was uninsured. Additionally, workers may bring suit against an uninsured employer for damages caused by an injury during the period in which they were uninsured. See North Dakota Century Code § 65-04-33.

WSI has the authority to issue a Cease & Desist Order to employers that are without workers’ compensation coverage or are in an uninsured status.   Employers may also be subject to a $10,000.00 penalty and $100.00 per day penalty for each day the violation continues. A general contractor or a subcontractor that willfully uses the services of a subcontractor precluded from operating under a cease and desist order is subject to a penalty of $5,000 and $100 per day for each day the violation occurs.

See North Dakota Century Code § 65-04-27.2.

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Each person who performs services for another for remuneration (meaning money or substitute for money) is presumed to be an employee of the person for whom the services are performed; unless it is proven that the person is an independent contractor under the "common law" test. The person who asserts that they are an independent contractor under this test rather than an employee has the burden of proving that fact. See North Dakota Century Code § 65-01-03(1).

A determination under this section that a person is not required to be insured is effective for no more than one year from the date the person is notified of the determination. The organization retains continuing jurisdiction over determinations and may reconsider or revoke its decision at any time. If you are an employer or independent contractor and wish to verify independent contractor status, contact WSI and an Independent Contractor Questionnaire will be provided.

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When a business owner thinks about purchasing another business, he or she probably considers workforce changes, tax implications and other common areas of concern. A lesser known or often overlooked consideration is the impact the purchase could have on workers’ compensation costs.

Types of Ownership Changes

  • Sale or transfer of all or a portion of an entity’s ownership interest
  • Sale or transfer of an entity’s physical assets to another entity that takes over its operations
  • Merger or consolidation of two or more entities
  • Formation of a new entity that acts as a successor to another entity that dissolved, is non-operative or continues to operate in a limited capacity

Continuation of experience from the predecessor account to the successor account is an essential element in developing the appropriate premium rate for the successor.  Both predecessor (seller) and successor (buyer) must notify WSI of a transfer in operations. See North Dakota Administrative Code § 92-01-02-13

To learn more about the transfer process, contact your WSI Underwriter at