When workers travel across state lines, it is important to know which state’s rules apply for workers’ compensation coverage.

Out-of-state employees coming into Washington

Employees in or traveling into Washington state

Determine where each employee is reported

Workers’ compensation coverage decisions are made on an individual employee basis. You may have employees that are reported to Washington and employees reported to other states. You may need to have a workers’ compensation policy in more than 1 state.

Typically, we determine where the employee is reported by considering the state they:

  • Regularly work in if they work at or from a place of business in that state.
  • Live in if they also work from that state (such as telework).

Principally localized: If the employee fits 1 of these categories, that is the state that we consider the employee to be based in (also called "principally localized" or their "home state").

If any of your employees are based in Washington you must have a Washington state workers' compensation account and report your Washington employees.

Reciprocal states

Employees based in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming

Washington has reciprocal agreements with these states about when and how we accept their workers’ compensation coverage. These agreements allow you to bring employees temporarily into Washington from the reciprocal state without purchasing workers' compensation insurance from L&I.

Note: Montana and Nevada reciprocal agreements do not include construction work. If your Montana or Nevada employees are performing construction work in Washington, you will need to report their hours to Washington L&I. Washington State law does not allow for private workers' compensation coverage. You must purchase your coverage from L&I or be a certified self-insured employer.

Employees traveling into Washington state from a reciprocal state

For employees from any reciprocal state other than construction employees from Montana or Nevada:

  1. Verify with your insurer that they will provide coverage while your employee is temporarily working in Washington.
  2. Have your insurer send an Extraterritorial Coverage Certificate to us:

Department of Labor & Industries
PO Box 44148
Olympia, WA 98504

OutofState@Lni.wa.gov

You will receive a confirmation letter when your certificate is approved. Your confirmation letter is evidence that your out-of-state workers’ compensation coverage has been accepted by L&I.

If your insurer won’t provide coverage to your employee temporarily in Washington, you must have a Washington workers’ compensation policy for any work done in Washington.

Nonreciprocal states

Employees not based in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming

If your workers are based in any nonreciprocal state or country, or if you cannot determine where your employee is based, you may be required to have Washington coverage. Your workers’ compensation coverage requirements would be based on the type of work they’re doing in Washington.

Construction

You must report all work done in Washington that requires a contractor registration, or an electrical or plumbing license.

Non-construction

For other types of work done temporarily in Washington, we consider:

  • What is the type of work performed in Washington.
  • What are all of the states or countries they work in, and their regular work pattern.
  • How long and how often the employee will be in Washington.
  • Where the employee was hired.
  • What workers’ compensation is provided for them by insurers from another state.

For help understanding where to report these workers, contact us at OutofState@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-4817 and ask for an extraterritorial specialist.

Claims

What if my employee is injured and files an L&I claim while working in Washington?

If the claim is for an out-of-state employee covered by an out-of-state policy, we will reject the claim and you will need to contact your other insurer about the claim.

If your employee is reported to us for workers’ compensation coverage, they should file a claim with us. Call 1-877-561-FILE (3453) for more information.

Important: If your out-of-state insurer denies a claim because it occurred in Washington or your out-of-state policy lapses, you are out of compliance with Washington regulations. You will then be liable for all unpaid premium, penalties, interest, and claim costs.

Washington Employees Traveling Out of State

Who is a Washington employee?

A Washington employee is under Washington state jurisdiction for workers’ compensation coverage. This means that Washington state workers’ compensation laws, rules, and benefits apply to the employee, and the employee must be reported and covered by Washington state workers’ compensation coverage.

Typically, a Washington employee is someone who:

  • Regularly works at or from a Washington place of business, or
  • Lives in Washington and works remotely from Washington (such as telework).

A employee who does not fit one of these two categories might still be a Washington employee if they were hired in Washington and:

  • Travels regularly to multiple states with no regular work location, or
  • Works in another state whose workers’ compensation laws do not cover the employee, or
  • Works in another country outside of the U.S. and Canada.

If you are still not certain if the employee is a Washington employee, go to Out-of-State Employees Coming into Washington tab.

What if a Washington employee works outside of Washington?

Washington employees are reported to us even when they travel to another state, and they are entitled to file for Washington benefits even if injured out of state. You are required to inform the employee of their right to file claims in Washington.

Coverage requirements

Workers’ compensation coverage requirements depend on where your workers are working:

  • Reciprocal states: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming.
  • Any other (nonreciprocal) state, US territory or Canadian Province.
  • Any country outside of the U.S. and Canada.

Reciprocal states

These states have agreements with us about accepting our workers’ compensation coverage.
If you take Washington workers to a reciprocal state:

  1. Read the reciprocal agreement for the state you are traveling to (WAC 296-17-31009).
  2. Verify with the state your workers will be working in that they will accept our coverage for your business. See the Workers' Compensation Administrators Directory for contact information.
    • Idaho
    • Montana (not including construction work)
    • Nevada (not including construction work)
    • North Dakota
    • Oregon
    • South Dakota
    • Utah
    • Wyoming
  3. Request an Extraterritorial Coverage Certificate by emailing us at TeamOAS@Lni.wa.gov. We will send a copy to you and the state you are traveling to as proof of your Washington workers’ compensation coverage.
    • If the reciprocal state will not accept our coverage and requires you to pay premium to that state, you must report and pay premiums for Washington employees.
      • Exception: If you will report workers to another insurer for work done in one other state, territory, or province for more than 30 days in a calendar year, see the Out-of-State Supplemental Reporting tab.

Note: Washington workers are still entitled to file for Washington benefits, even if they are also reported to another insurer.

Nonreciprocal states

If you take Washington employees to a nonreciprocal state, US territory, or Canadian province:

  1. Confirm with the other state, territory or province if they will accept our coverage. See the Workers' Compensation Administrators Directory for the U.S. and Canada.
  2. Request an Extraterritorial Coverage Certificate by emailing us at TeamOAS@Lni.wa.gov. We will send a copy to you and a copy to the state you are travelling to as proof of your Washington workers’ compensation coverage.
    • If the state, territory or province will not accept our coverage, you are still required to report Washington employees to us, even if you are also reporting them to another insurer.
      • Exception: If you will report workers to another insurer for work done in one other state, territory, or province for more than 30 days in a calendar year, see the Out-of-State Supplemental Reporting tab.

Note: Washington workers are still entitled to file for Washington benefits, even if they are also reported to another insurer.

Countries other than the U.S. and Canada

If you take Washington workers to any country outside of the U.S. and Canada, work performed by private employers on U.S. military bases outside of the U.S. is subject to federal law. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor about the Defense Base Act.

If this does not apply to you, continue to report your Washington workers who travel internationally on your Washington workers’ compensation quarterly reports.

  • Washington workers are still entitled to file for Washington benefits, even if they are injured out of the country.
  • You are required to inform the employee of their right to file claims in Washington. We recommend giving your employee a copy of International Travel for Work (F242-419-000) publication.
Out-of-State Supplemental Reporting

If you qualify for out-of-state supplemental reporting, you will need to report the hours but will not have to pay premium to L&I for out-of-state work that is insured in another state or country. You can apply if you are a Washington employer who:

  • Has Washington workers temporarily working outside of Washington.
  • Is required to report that work to another state or country for more than 30 days in a calendar year.
    Note: The days are counted for each state, Canadian province or other country separately and don’t have to be consecutive.

You may not use out-of-state supplemental reporting for work that is covered by a reciprocal agreement. See the Washington Worker Traveling Out of State tab for more information on reciprocal agreements.

30 days or less

What if the work in another state or country is for 30 days or less?

Work is considered “temporary and incidental” if it is performed in another state or country for 30 days or less in a calendar year (January 1 through December 31) by a Washington worker. For temporary and incidental work both the premium and hours must be reported to L&I for workers’ compensation coverage. See examples below.

You may also be required to pay premiums to an insurer in the other state or country. Contact the workers' compensation authority where they will be working to find out if that authority will recognize Washington workers’ compensation coverage.

More than 30 days

If you will have workers in another state or country for more than 30 days in a calendar year (January 1 through December 31), you may qualify for out-of-state supplemental reporting. The days are counted separately for each state, Canadian province or other country and include partial work days. The days do not have to be consecutive.

If you meet the above qualifications:
  • Complete the Application for Out-of-State Supplemental Reporting (F212-234-000)
    • If you want to report work in more than 1 state, you will need to complete a separate application for each state.
    • You need to submit a new application every year if you want to report out-of-state hours without paying premiums to us.
    • We will send you a confirmation letter if you qualify for out-of-state supplemental reporting.
  • Insure the workers out of state and provide L&I with proof of this coverage. You must provide a valid certificate of workers' compensation liability insurance from an insurer licensed in the other state.
  • Report all out-of-state work done by Washington workers to us on the Washington Workers Insured Out-of-State: Employer's Supplemental Quarterly Report for Workers' Compensation (F212-233-000) form. These forms will be mailed to you each quarter. These reports are due at the end of the month following the last day of the quarter.
  • Keep all of the necessary records.
Paying premiums to L&I for out-of-state work

You must report out-of-state hours and pay premiums to L&I for your Washington workers if:

  • You don't apply for out-of-state supplemental reporting.
  • Your application for out-of-state supplemental reporting is denied.
  • You don’t properly insure the out-of-state work with an out-of-state carrier.
  • You don’t provide proof of out-of-state workers' compensation insurance.
  • You don’t complete and return your out-of-state supplemental reports on time.
  • Your workers worked in the other state for 30 days or less.

Examples

Employer A:

A Washington employer, Employer A, sends Washington workers to Alaska for 25 days and then to California for another 19 days. In this example the work in both Alaska and California is “temporary and incidental,” because the employer is not in either state for more than 30 days in a calendar year.

Employer A does not qualify for out-of-state supplemental reporting. All hours and premium must be included in their L&I quarterly reports.

Employer B:

In January, a Washington employer, Employer B, sends Washington workers to Alaska for 25 days. In September of the same year, the employer sends workers back to Alaska for another 19 days. In this example we would add all of the days together, since they are working in the same state in the same calendar year.

Employer B qualifies to apply for out-of-state supplemental reporting because their workers are in Alaska for more than 30 days in a calendar year.

Claims

Washington workers cannot waive their rights to their Washington workers’ compensation benefits when injured out-of-state.

Washington workers have a right to file a claim in Washington. They can file the claim with L&I, even if you report their hours on an out-of-state supplemental report and pay premiums to an out-of-state insurer. You must inform your workers of their right to file in Washington.

An injured worker may file a claim in both Washington and in the state or country in which they were injured, but any benefits they receive from L&I will be adjusted based on any benefits paid by the other state.