Today’s post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr., from Paul McAndrew Law Firm in Iowa. The article linked in the blog post is a really comprehensive perspective for how employers sometimes cheat on workers’ compensation and cheat workers in other ways, including not paying payroll taxes and then being able to underbid competitors. That cheating costs taxpayers more money in the long run as employers aren’t paying their fair share. Construction companies may do things like misclassifying workers by calling employees independent contractors, not paying a living wage (or even minimum wage), and ignoring workplace safety. Then folks who think their employer has workers’ compensation coverage get hurt, there is no coverage, and the taxpayer is on the hook again. I wrote about this issue previously in regards to a series National Public Radio did in another state, Texas. Unfortunately, I think the same things happen even in Nebraska and Iowa, because employers think they can get away with it, and, realistically, workers need the jobs. With the improving job market, I hope that employers will be safer and workers will feel like they can afford to be choosy in pursuing a job at a place that prioritizes safety.
In these tough economic times, many companies aren’t paying basic requirements for their employees like Social Security, income taxes, unemployment, or workers’ comp. This has led states all over the country to start doing spot-checks on construction sites. Employers beware – protect your workers with workers’ compensation insurance – it’s the law, and states are cracking down.
Earlier this year Connecticut’s Labor’s Wage & Workplace Standards Division shut down two subcontractors who were helping to build a high-rise in Stamford, CT. According to the state, the Virginia-based contractors couldn’t provide evidence that their employees had workers’ compensation coverage in the state of Connecticut.
With unemployment high and the recession lingering, employers seem to be increasingly taking advantage of the fact that people are willing to work without appropriate coverage. It is a real shame that these days so many people are going to work without the protections that they are due under the law.