Virtually all employers in New Mexico must provide workers' compensation insurance and occupational disease disablement coverage for their employees. Insurance is required for all nonconstruction employers that have three or more employees, including governmental bodies and charitable organizations, and for all construction employers of any size. Construction employers must provide coverage no matter what the number of their employees. Employees injured out of state are covered if their principal employment is within New Mexico, or if the contract for hire was made in the state.
A few categories of employment are specifically exempted from coverage:
• Corporate owners, partners, and self-employed individuals
• Student-aid recipients at educational institutions
• Real estate salespeople paid by commission
Sole proprietors and executives who own 10 percent or more of the corporation they work for may elect not to be covered. Employers that are not obligated to provide coverage may elect to cover their employees and, thus, gain immunity from other legal actions. Leased workers must be covered by the employee leasing service, with the client as coinsurer. An executive of a limited liability company may elect to be exempt from workers' compensation coverage.
The owner or principal contractor of a construction project costing in excess of $150 million (over a 5-year period) may establish its own controlled workers' compensation insurance plan.
An uninsured employers' fund provides for claims against uninsured employers, financed by an assessment on each employer in New Mexico. Workers injured after June 23, 2003, are covered by the fund if their employer is uninsured.