I own a small commercial cleaning business here in Syracuse NY. I have an issue with NYS workers comp. I don't have any employees but being sent letters from NYS saying I've failed to have workers comp although I don't have any employees. I did in the past and used ADP for my payroll and Hartford for workers comp however, having workers didn't work out due to no calls ETC so I've been doing the work myself and decided not to grow the business for extra income for myself since early 2012 and have not had any employees since. The first couple letters I got from NYS back in 2012 and moving forward I ignored because I didn't have employees but now they have or want to take me to court for judgements and I don't know what to do. Thank You for your time. John
p.s. Last year I did reach out to NYS bureau of compliance and they said to simply write them a letter stating that I do not have any employees and I did this however when I just called them yesterday they said they have got this letter. I sent it through regular mail.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Start by writing a similar letter to compliance and tell them the exact date when you no longer had employees and tel them about the prior letter. Send this and every future letter to them by certified mail return receipt requested AND KEEP A COPY FOR YOUR FILE.
You can offer to sign an affidavit, but make sure that all your facts are verified first.
You may be able to get documentary proof of the last date that you had payroll from your prior payroll company.
Don't ignore the State. They will move forward and things will get worse.
If they don't accept your letter or documentary proof, get an attorney that is well versed in representing employers in compliance matters.
Dan Bronk's response to this question does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice. The response is Dan Bronk's answer to a hypothetical question and without any knowledge of the specific facts or legal issues involved in your case. Do not take any legal action without consulting Dan or another experienced workers' compensation attorney for proper legal advice that can only be provided after a careful and thorough review of your case.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
John: Answering the first couple of letters from the Workers Compensation Board is crucial. When you don't, the board will presume you are an "uninsured employer”. The presumption is reportable, but is something that needs to be handled right away. When an employer not covered by workers' compensation insurance, in addition to fines, penalties and potential jail time, the following should be kept in mind;
• WCL §26-a states 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.
• The sole proprietor, partners, president, secretary, and treasurer are held personally responsible.
• An uninsured employer can be directly sued by an injured employee (WCL §11)
• An uninsured employer is responsible for all wage and medical benefits awarded to anyone ruled to be their employee. There is no cap on these benefits in New York.
• An uninsured employer is responsible for obtaining and paying for any legal representation required to defend against a workers' compensation claim, something that is provided under a workers' compensation insurance policy's coverage.
Peter M. Cordovano