South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Laws Have Changed to Benefit the Injured and their Employers

Ensuring compliance with workers’ compensation laws is consistently a concern among many states because of the impact noncompliance can have on injured employees and employers who follow the law. Noncompliance with workers’ compensation laws negatively affects those injured on the job, as well as law-abiding employers. Fortunately, the workers’ compensation laws of South Carolina are implemented relatively efficiently and result in more resolved cases for injured workers than many other states. Some recent changes in the state’s laws are designed to make the process more efficient.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical benefits and wage reimbursement for employees who become injured while on the job. The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides that injured employees are entitled to recover necessary medical treatment, loss of wages during a period of disability, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement. There are three types of work-related injuries that can qualify for workers’ compensation payments: physical injuries, mental injuries accompanied by physical injuries and mental injuries with no physical injuries.

In South Carolina, employees may collect workers’ compensation for all wages and benefits, including those from other employers. This gives South Carolina employees an advantage over neighboring North Carolina employees who may only collect workers’ compensation for wages earned from the specific job on which the injury occurred.

Who Is An Employee?

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act defines “employee” as “every person engaged in an employment under any appointment, contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written … but excludes a person whose employment is both casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of his employer … .”

Every South Carolina employer and employee is presumed to be covered by the act. Employers covered by the act are required to maintain insurance to cover compensation or provide the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission with proof they have the ability to pay the compensation for an injured employee.

There are a few exceptions to the workers’ compensation laws, including businesses employing fewer than four employees or having a total annual payroll of less than three thousand dollars in the previous calendar year, regardless of the number of employees. Employers who qualify for exemption may elect to come under the act and may subsequently withdraw with written notice to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

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Matching Funds for S.C. Solar Installations on Educational Facilities

Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE) Inc., a South Carolina nonprofit, is disbursing grants for the lesser of 50 percent or $50,000 of the cost of new solar photovoltaic installations to schools, school districts and education-focused non-profits in South Carolina. In aggregate, the PaCE Solar Grant Pilot seeks to disburse up to $250,000 in funding to institutions by first quarter 2014.

Applicants must provide at least 50 percent of the project cost and demonstrate that matching funds are available, in-hand or otherwise committed before PaCE will release any funds to a qualifying applicant selected for the program. Matching funds may be in the form of in-kind goods or services, such as installation or project design. Grant funds may only be applied to the cost of installing new, grid-connected PV systems located on property owned by the applicant.

Applications are due Oct. 1.