UPDATE: Our Award-Winning Attorneys have defended business owners and homeowners and saved them over ONE MILLION DOLLARS in workers compensation fines, penalties and judgments. Call us now to learn how we can protect you too.
In order to raise money, New York has increased its enforcement efforts and issued tens of thousands of penalties, fines and judgments to small businesses and homeowners in New York City, Westchester County and throughout the State for failing to have workers’ compensation insurance and/or disability insurance. Indeed, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has filed judgments against 20,000 small business owners. Together these judgments, penalties and fines are devastating retail stores, mom and pop businesses and even established businesses. While it is fair to enforce the law, the penalty amounts are so excessive and not consistent with the law’s intended purpose. For example, if a small business did not pay a five hundred dollar premium for its worker’s compensation insurance policy, it could be fined over $72,000.00 for this seemingly minor technical violation. Celebrities are not immune as Al Franken, former Star of Saturday Night Live and current Minnesota Senator, was also served with a significant judgment. While there is an important policy reason for employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance to protect employees and so that the costs are proportionately spread among all employers, these level of draconian penalties are causing employers to file for bankruptcy, close their shops, and fire all of their employees. In the end, employees are losing their jobs, small businesses are closing and being harassed by debt collectors to pay these exorbitant judgments.
Under the Law, employers are required to carry insurance for employees for work-related accidents, injuries or illness and some bases for penalties are noted below.
Failure to Secure Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage (Section 52(5))
Failure to Secure Disability Benefits Coverage (Section 220);
Failure to Keep Required Employment Records (Section 131); and
Failure to Post Notice of Workers’ Compensation Coverage (Section 51).
If a Company has more than one full-time or part-time employee, the Company is required to obtain a workers’ compensation insurance policy. The following employers are exempt from coverage:
• The business is owned by one person and said person holds all corporate office titles
• The business is owned by two corporate officers and they hold all of the corporate office titles and are the only employees.
• All businesses with three or more shareholders or corporate officers must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage and are not exempt.
In one of the hardest provisions for employers, if a well-intentioned family member (including a spouse or adult child) works for the business and even if the family member does not collect a salary, that family member is considered an employee by the Workers Compensation Board. The Board strongly scrutinizes small businesses that utilize independent contractors and may consider them employees depending on the circumstances. Simply calling an individual an independent contractor is not a sufficient basis for not carrying worker’s compensation insurance coverage. Our New York Employment Law Attorneys have saved business over $1 Million dollars and can help defend you and your Company too. Call now (800) 893-9645 for a no-cost telephone consultation.
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board 20 Park Street Albany, New York 12207
New York State Workers’ Compensation Board 100 Broadway Bureau of Compliance
Albany, NY 12241
Bureau of Compliance: (866) 298-7830
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