NY Department of Labor - Workers Comp


Who Is Covered By The Workers' Compensation Law?

Virtually all employers in New York State must provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees (WCL §2 and 3). Employers must post notice of coverage in their place(s) of business (WCL §51). Employers must cover the following workers for workers' compensation insurance:

Workers in all employments conducted for-profit. Part-time employees, borrowed employees, leased employees, family members and volunteers working for a for-profit business must also be covered under the Workers' Compensation Law (WCL §3 Groups 1-14-a);

Employees of counties and municipalities engaged in work defined by the law as "hazardous" (WCL §3 Groups 15, 15-a and 17);

Public school teachers, excluding those employed by New York City, and public school aides, including New York City (WCL §3 Groups 20, 20-a and 22);

Employees of the State of New York, including some volunteer workers (WCL §3 Group 16);

Domestic workers employed forty or more hours per week by the same employer, including full-time sitters or companions, and live-in maids (WCL §3 Group 12) (see Domestic Workers)

Farm workers whose employer paid $1,200 or more for farm labor in the preceding calendar year (WCL §3 Group 14-b) (see Farms)

Any other worker determined by the Board to be an employee and not specifically excluded from coverage under the WCL (WCL §3 Groups 1-14-a and 18);

All corporate officers if the corporation has more than two officers and/or two stockholders (WCL §54 [6]) (see Corporate Officer Coverage Requirements);

Officers of one-or-two person corporations if there are other individuals in employment. These officers may choose to exclude themselves from coverage (WCL §54 [6]) (see Corporate Officer Coverage Requirements); and

Most workers compensated by a nonprofit organization (WCL §3 Group 18) (see Nonprofit Organizations).

Volunteer Firefighters and Volunteer Ambulance Workers are provided benefits for death or injuries suffered in the line of duty under the Volunteer Firefighters' Benefit Law and Volunteer Ambulance Workers' Benefit Law.


Liability And Penalties For Violations Of Mandatory Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage Requirements

The law requires employers operating in New York State to have workers' compensation coverage for their employees, with limited exceptions. Employers are required to obtain and keep in effect workers' compensation coverage for all employees, even part-time employees and family members that are employed by the company. The following is a brief summary of the liability and penalties for violations of mandatory workers' compensation insurance coverage requirements.

Ascertaining Violations of the Law

The Workers' Compensation Board may require an employer to furnish proof that the employer:

Has a valid workers' compensation insurance policy;

Is self-insured for workers' compensation; or

Is legally exempt from having to obtain workers' compensation coverage, and/or

Is keeping proper, accurate business records.

If an employer fails to provide this information within 10 days following the Board's request, under the WCL the Board is required to assume that the employer is violating the WCL. (WCL §52 [3])

Personal Accountability

The sole proprietor, partners or the president, secretary and treasurer of a corporation are personally liable for a business' failure to secure workers' compensation insurance.

Liability for Claims Incurred by an Uninsured Employer

Section 26-a says an employer is liable for a penalty of $2,000 per 10-day period of noncompliance, plus the actual award (including both compensation and medical costs), plus any other penalties the Board assesses for noncompliance. In cases involving severely injured employees, the medical costs alone could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per injury.

 Audit (Employee or Independent Contractor ?)

Mis-classifying an employee as an independent contractor exposes the business to a $200/day fine from the NY State Workers Compensation Board for each day the misclassified employees were not covered by workers compensation insurance. See Article under Business Law discribing the difference.


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