Payroll Information


WSI requires employers to submit payroll information. Payroll is used to calculate premium.


WSI premium is based on the amount of remuneration paid to workers during the policy period. Remuneration means money or substitutes for money. North Dakota law prohibits employers from deducting wages or otherwise billing workers for any part of the premium.

Report gross earnings of all employees including:

  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Extra pay for overtime
  • Reportable tips
  • Pay for holidays, vacations, or sick leave
  • All pretax deductions for amounts allocated by the employee for deferred compensation. Employee contributions to Cafeteria plans, 401K’s, annuity plans, medical reimbursements, flex accounts, Davis-Bacon wages, or any similar program.
  • Value of meals, lodging (rent value of a house or apartment), or other gratuities received by a worker as part of pay

Do not include dismissal or severance pay.


WSI uses your payroll information to calculate the premium you pay for workers’ compensation insurance. Upon reviewing the payroll detail, premium is calculated by applying the rate for a class of employment to the amount of taxable payroll in that classification. If you have several classifications, your premium is the sum-total of all classifications.

The maximum taxable payroll for each worker is capped at 70% of the state’s average annual wage. This amount is commonly referred to as the “wage cap.” The average annual wage cap becomes effective on July 1 of each year.

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).


Some classes of employment are inherently more hazardous than others, and WSI's rate class system reflects that risk. Based on the risk, each class of employment is assigned a classification. In turn, each classification is assigned a rate. These rates reflect factors such as occupational risk, medical costs, and benefit levels. 

See Forms & Resource section for current the classification manual.


Effective August 1, 2019  employers are required to provide their payroll report electronically through WSI's online reporting system. You may either upload an excel or text file, or key in the information for each employee. On the 16th day of the month of your account’s renewal, your account information is available online. Your online access code is printed on the payroll reporting instructions. The report is due 30 days after an account's renewal. Click here to learn more about online payroll reporting.

If you fail to report your payroll by the due date, you will be penalized. Continued failure to report payroll may lead to additional penalties and an “uninsured” status.

When a new account is established, estimated payroll is requested for 12 months and employers are billed premiums based on that estimate. Prior to the end of the payroll period, employers are mailed a payroll notification requesting actual wages paid. 

If you estimated more payroll than your actual wages, your billing statement will reflect the appropriate credit; just as an understated estimate will generate additional premium. We use your submitted actual payroll figures to bill an estimated premium for the next payroll cycle. If you anticipate a significant increase or decrease in payroll from the submitted amounts, note this change when submitting your payroll report, or contact customer service at 800-777-5033 or 701-328-3800 so an appropriate billing can be generated.

In addition to gathering payroll information, the payroll report reflects coverage in place for owners, spouses, and/or family members.


As a general rule, when a business organizes formally as a corporation, an LLC, or some similar entity, one of the major benefits it receives is the protection of the owner's personal assets against business losses.

North Dakota workers’ compensation law, however, permits WSI to pursue individuals personally for the debts of their business. North Dakota Century Code § 65-04-26.1 provides for the assessment of personal liability against officers and directors of a corporation, managers and governors of a limited liability company, partners in a limited liability partnership, and employees who own 20% of the business and have control over the reporting of payroll and payment of premiums to WSI. Once liability is assessed and the employer’s appeal time has expired, WSI may pursue the debt through a civil lawsuit.