Are Pastors covered by Workers’ Compensation?

A lot of churches have tight budgets so they cut Worker’s Comp coverage. Can they do this legally in North or South Dakota? Should they do this? Honestly, I’m a little murky on the North Dakota answer. I read in the Century Code how they do not consider church work to be “Hazardous Employment.” They also don’t consider farm employment hazardous…so I’m pretty sure they just didn’t want to use the word Exempt. In South Dakota, there’s no hint of any exemption, but Workers’ Comp is kind of…optional. No matter what, you’re liable, but you can either self-insure or by insurance. I would bet this is how it works in North Dakota for church employees. You are liable no matter what.

Worker’s Comp is important because it can protect both the pastor and the church when someone gets hurt on the job. Pastors actually put themselves at risk more often than you think when they are driving from place to place, working with youth, and helping out in the kitchen or with maintenance. Whenever you go to the doctor with an injury, their health insurance will want to know if the injury happened on the job to determine whether or not they will pay for the treatment.

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