The Texas Legislature enacted the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act in 1913 in response to the needs of workers who were being denied recoveries in the growing number of workplace injuries in Texas. The Act allowed employees of employers who purchased workers’ compensation insurance to recover their injuries without establishing fault on the part of the employer and regardless of negligence on the part of the employee. In return, subscribers’ employees were not allowed to sue their employers in most cases. Since the law took effect in 1913, Texas has allowed employers to choose not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Today, Texas is one of the few states that allows employers to make this choice.
Employers who choose not to carry workers’ compensation insurance are generally referred to as “non-enrollees.” The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reports that from 1993 to 2018, the proportion of non-subscribers in Texas fell from 44% to 28%. The number of employees working for non-subscribers in Texas, however, remained relatively constant between 1993 and 2018. Over those years, the percentage of Texan workers employed by non-subscribers has varied from a high of 25% in 2008 to a low of 18% in 2018.