Thousands of Ohio companies are in trouble for failing to pay their most recent workers’ compensation premium. Failure to pay this premium has a negative effect on businesses that actually do pay because it drives up insurance costs. Failure to pay also places injured workers at risk because there may not be insurance to cover workplace injuries.
According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, 41,247 private employers in Ohio did not report their payroll data or premium payments to the agency by the deadline on Feb. 29. Ohio law requires that private employers pay into the workers’ compensation system two times a year. Large companies also have to option to self-insure.
Since the deadline passed, many companies brought their policies up to date but more than 12,000 accounts still remain outstanding. The outstanding accounts owe approximately $5.6 million in premiums and sit with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for collection.
There are many reasons employers may fail to make these payments, but the reasons usually stem from financial hardships. Other businesses may close and forget to notify the state that they are out of business and don’t need coverage. Some businesses may intentionally not pay as a means of cutting costs and for business advantages.
Companies that allow coverage to lapse may face fines and potential criminal charges. It opens an employer up to additional risk of lawsuit, especially if an employee is injured at work during a period where coverage is expired.
Workers’ compensation provides an essential benefit to employees. Without it, injured workers may incur huge medical and treatment costs, usually at a time when they are unable to work. When businesses and companies fail to pay their premiums to cover workers’ compensation, it hurts the workers and employees when they need support the most.
Those who need help securing workers’ compensation benefits from an uninsured employer are often wise to seek guidance from a reputable attorney who practices workers’ compensation law.
Source: Springfield News-Sun, “Firms face charges for skipping workers’ comp payments,” Cornelius Frolik, May 13, 2012