Workers compensation insurance is important for most workers, but especially for workers engaged in physical jobs, such as the construction industry, landscaping, warehouse work, transportation and much of the healthcare industry.
In this work, you can be injured during the ordinary course of your activities, and could require a significant amount of medical treatment, surgery and rehabilitation in order to return to work. The good thing is, in Wisconsin, virtually every employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. As long as you are an employee.
During the last 50 years or so, the growth of the use of independent contractors has become pronounced. At one time, this designation was limited to specialized, highly skilled individuals, such as engineers and computer programmers who could command high wages.
Today, many employers intentionally misclassify their employees as independent contractors. These are not highly compensated workers who receive six-figure salaries, but ordinary workers, who often make less than minimum wage, are sometimes paid cash or off-books and receive no Social Security wages or credit, no benefits and no workers’ compensation insurance.
In addition to injuring their workers with this fraudulent arrangement, these employers harm legitimate businesses, how have to pay their employees a fair wage and all of these other benefits.
One senator has introduced the Fair Playing Field Act that would stop this practice and would enable the Internal Revenue Service to prospectively reclassify workers. This could force employers to adhere to the law, or be subject to criminal fines and the potential for jail time if they continue to abuse their workers and flout the law.
Source: norwalkreflector.com, “Sen. Brown introduces bill to crack down on employers who misclassify workers and cheat them out of benefits,” Norwalk reflector staff, November 8, 2015