Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Labor Department Toughens Workers Comp Exemption Rules

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Labor Department Toughens Workers Comp Exemption Rules

Article excerpt

Employers who pressure job-hungry individuals into illegally obtaining a workers compensation exemption card to secure a job will run afoul of a set of tougher State Department of Labor regulations starting next month.

Although only independent contractors may lawfully work under what is known as a certificate of noncoverage, in reality some companies coerce job applicants into seeking one of the cards from the labor department.

Officials say the practice is particularly common in the construction industry. In addition to a $10 fee, prior rules required only completion of a notarized application on a labor department form, and annual renewal of the cards. New rules were filed with the secretary of state's office on Friday, with amendments relating to their effective date submitted Monday. Beginning July 13, in addition to the notarized form, applicants will have to provide a copy of their driver's license or birth certificate, social security or resident alien card, any applicable licenses and two passport-sized photos. They will also have to complete a detailed questionnaire that will determine, among other items: * Why the individual needs the card. * When he or she became self-employed. * The name of their business and any employees. * Firms with which they have contracted in the past. * How they were paid. * Who supervises their work. * Who owns their tools and equipment. * Who determines the hours they work. * Whether they have been asked by someone to obtain a noncoverage certificate in order to obtain employment. If the applicant is a sole proprietor, the application must also include copies of tax returns and at least one contract indicating that the applicant does business as a sole proprietor, or an affidavit to that effect detailing the name of the firm with whom the applicant has a contract and the nature of their agreement. Members of partnerships will have to submit similar documentation, as well as copies of relevant partnership forms which are filed with the secretary of state. In addition to the above, an applicant who is an owner of at least 10 percent of a limited liability company or stock issued in a corporation will have to submit a copy of the firm's operating agreement and documentation indicating the value of the applicant's capital or stock. …

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