The New York workers’ compensation Act is compulsory for all private and public employers. Although there are exceptions, most employers of at least one person are required to carry coverage for their employees. Individual proprietors and partners themselves are not automatically covered; they may elect to be covered. The same is true for partners of Limited Liability Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies.
Officers of corporations are considered employees of the corporation; they are automatically covered. If a corporation with one or two executives has employees requiring coverage, either one, or both, of the officers may elect to be excluded from coverage, provided the one or both officers own all of the issued or outstanding stock and hold all executive officer positions in the corporation.
Employers in New York State are required to meet their workers’ compensation insurance obligations by one of the following ways:
- By insuring with a private insurance carrier or the state insurance fund.
- By self-insuring, or as a member of a self-insured trust. Employers who qualify to self-insure must follow the express requirements of the law and meet requisite financial standards.
The Cost of not insuring
The New York State Workers’ Compensation law requires most employers in New York State to have workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Failing to provide coverage when required by law is a misdemeanor, and may carry the following sanctions:
Escalating fines starting at $500 for the first offense going up to $7,500 for subsequent violations within five years. An assessment of $250 for each claim incurred while uninsured, plus 15% of the amount awarded up to a maximum of $5,000 plus the actual compensation and medical costs. Any penalties the Workers’ Compensation Board assesses for non-compliance. An additional fine of $250 for each 10-day period of noncompliance or two percent of the employer’s payroll during the period of noncompliance can be levied.
If the employer is a corporation, the president, secretary and treasurer are personally liable for medical and compensation payments for the injured worker, and all penalties. The employer is deprived of common-law defenses in a civil suit brought by an injured employee.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects employers from liability for on-the-job injuries resulting in employee disability or death, providing injured workers with monetary relief and medical benefits, or, in the case of death, survivor benefits to their dependents.
Workers’ compensation laws are different for each state. If your state is not provided below, please check with the US Department of Labor