Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Requirements for Farm Families

Anyone engaged in farming who employs six or more persons (at one or more locations) on any 20 consecutive or nonconsecutive days during a calendar year must have worker's compensation insurance. The insurance must be in place 10 days after the 20th day of employment has been reached. A calendar year is defined as January through December. Some relatives of the farmer are not counted as employees.

There is no wage threshold for farmers. It doesn't matter how much a farmer pays in wages. What matters is the number of employees (after excluding certain employees who are family members, relatives, or "exchanged workers").

If the farm is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability company, relatives are defined as the parents, spouse, child, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law of a farmer, are not considered to be or counted as employees of the farmer.

If the farm is a family corporation, all shareholders must be related as lineal ancestors or descendents. Shareholders of the family farm corporation do not count as employees of the farm. Relatives of a shareholder, as defined above, are not considered to be or counted as employees of the family farm corporation. All other employees are counted as employees.

If a farm is a corporation, where all shareholders are not related, all employees, including relatives, are considered to be and counted as employees.

For purposes of counting six or more employees, farmers or their employees working on an exchange basis are not to be counted as employees of the farmer to whom their labor is being furnished in exchange. However, these individuals may qualify for worker's compensation benefits if they sustain an injury while at work on an exchange basis and the farmer employer is already subject to the law.