New California Law Requires Workers’ Comp, Even with No Employees

A new California law now requires certain contractors to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage beginning 2023, even if they don’t have any employees. SB 216, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom September 30th, requires contractors, whether they have employees or not, to have workers’ compensation insurance. The law will be expanded in 2026 to include additional types of contractors.

The first group of contractors that will need workers’ compensation coverage beginning July 2023 includes:

  • Concrete contractors with a C-8 license
  • HVAC contractors with a C-20 license
  • Asbestos abatement contractors with a C-22 license, and
  • Tree service contractors with a D-49 license

By January 2026, this will expand to include all contractors, unless they are organized as a joint venture under Business and Professions Code Section 7029 and have no employees.

This law doesn’t apply to contractors who do not hold the relevant licenses. It also doesn’t apply if a contractor has no employees and files a statement with the Contractors State License Board “certifying that the applicant or licensee does not employ any person in any manner so as to become subject to the workers’ compensation laws of California or is not otherwise required to provide for workers’ compensation insurance coverage under California law.”

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