It has been difficult for investigators at the New York State workers’ compensation board to crack down on employee misclassification and other types of fraud because the penalties that companies faced simply weren’t enough to dissuade many. That could change.
In Albany, Governor David Paterson has signed off on a number of bills that passed the assembly and the state senate, but the one of most interest for those at risk for workplace safety incidents is a law that will increase civil and criminal penalties for employers convicted of committing workers’ compensation fraud by mis-classifying or underreporting employment.
Most commonly seen in the construction trades where day laborers aren’t accounted for, but those caught doing so face fines of between $2,500 and $25,000. Some employers could even face time in jail for workers’ comp fraud after multiple offenses.
It’s an update in an industry already recognized by lawmakers for its potential dangers: construction workers have access to additional compensation if they receive a workplace injury due to faulty scaffolding. And with the rapid growth of crane accidents and other construction site issues, ensuring that construction workers have access to workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt could reduce costs for employers and employees alike.
To learn more about the workers’ compensation benefit process, or for assistance in filling out an application, contact the legal team at Markhoff & Mittman, P.C. today.