Extra, extra! Read all about it. Maine has altered its overtime labor laws to match new federal regulations regarding white-collar employee exemptions for overtime pay. Effective June 29, 2005, if I were an employee who earns a salary, I would be exempt from overtime pay as long as I was in a “bona fide”—as the law states—capacity as an executive, administrator or professional.
The other clause to this rule is that I, as the salaried employee, must make an annual salary that is greater than 3000 times the state’s minimum wage, when figured out to a year, or greater than an annual wage determined in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, whichever is greater. If that’s the case too, then I don’t earn overtime pay.
Otherwise, the overtime labor laws in Maine stay the same. They follow the basic guidelines of the federal FLSA when it comes to work week hours and overtime pay rate. For example, in Maine, as in the federal statutes, the regular work week consists of 40 hours. If I as an employee work more than 40 hours a week, then I am entitled to time and a half for every minute of every hour that I work over that 40 hours.
Maine’s overtime labor laws, though, diverge a bit from the federal laws when it comes to exemptions, or employees that don’t get overtime pay (besides the salaried employees that I mentioned above).
For instance, if I were a seamen or marine, I would not earn overtime pay from my boss. Other jobs that don’t get overtime pay include anyone involved in the making, storing, or marketing of farm products, meat and fish, or any perishable items. Also included are employees at restaurants, hotels, and motels, automobile salespeople, vehicle mechanics, and car-parts salesmen. If I worked any of those jobs, my employer would not be legally bound to pay me time and a half for my overtime hours.
Work-related accidents and illnesses happen, and when they do, employees are covered under the Hawaii Workers’ Compensation law. This law provides wages and medical care to employee, and prohibits a worker from filing a civil action against the employer for work-related injuries or illness.
I know the law applies to employers with one or more employees, working full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary. In the case of a claim, the employer carries the burden of producing substantial evidence to rebut a claim for a covered work injury.
In the event of a work injury, a worker should immediately report the injury to their supervisor/employer. The employer should then file a claim to the Hawaii Disability Compensation Division within 7 working days.
An employer is prohibited from requiring an employee to contribute towards compensation insurance premiums. Self-insured employers must furnish proof of financial solvency and ability to pay benefits and must be approved by the Department.
Each employer shall post a printed statement concerning benefit rights, claims for benefits, and other matters relating to the administration of the workers’ compensation law. The Hawaii Complete Labor Law poster offers a dedicated section just for workers compensation information to be posted. Each employer shall furnish within three working days of notice of injury to each injured employee a copy of the Workers’ Compensation Law brochure.
I read that injured workers receive benefits that include:
- Medical treatment, including surgical and hospital services and supplies related to the injury. The injured employee is entitled to choose the treating physician.
- Temporary total disability benefits paid as long as a worker is certified disabled from work by a treating physician.
- Permanent partial disability benefits paid to the employee when an injury results in a loss of use of specified portions or functions of the body.
- Permanent total disability benefits if the injured employee cannot return to work because of the injury
- Disfigurement payments due an employee for scars as a result of laceration or surgery; this can include deformity and discoloration.
- Death payments to a surviving spouse and dependent children in work-related death cases.
- If unable to return to usual occupation, injured employee may receive career counseling, testing, training, and job placement.
If there are any issues which cannot be resolved or if a claim is denied, either the worker or employer may request a hearing, and a decision will be made within 60 days after the hearing.
I understand that if an employer does not have coverage for its employees, the injured employee may contact the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Office.
I read that the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights spells out what an employee must do, and what a worker will receive when they are eligible for unemployment benefits. The law provides an employee coverage for a work -related injury even if an injury occurs on the first day on the job.
The employee has the following rights:
- If injured on the job, employees may receive medical, rehabilitation and income benefits. Their dependents may also receive benefits if they die as a result of a job-related injury.
- The employer is required to post a list of at least six doctors or the name of certified medical providers. The employee may choose a doctor from the list and make one change to another doctor on the list without employer permission
- Authorized doctor, hospital, rehabilitation, and prescriptions bills will be paid if injury was caused by an accident on the job.
- A worker is entitled to weekly income benefits if they miss more than seven days of work due to an injury.
- Accidents are classified as being either catastrophic or non-catastrophic. In catastrophic cases, employees are entitled to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for as long as they can’t work. In non-catastrophic cases, an employee is entitled to receive two-thirds of their average weekly pay for up to 400 weeks.
- When a worker is able to return to work but can only get a lower paying job as a result of injury, they are entitled to a weekly benefit making up the difference in pay.
- In the event an employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident, their dependents will receive burial expenses and two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage
- If a worker does not receive benefits when due, the insurance carrier/employer must pay a penalty which will be added to the worker’s payments.
I know from reading the rights that an employee must:
- Follow written rules of safety and other reasonable policies and procedures of the employer.
- Report any accident immediately, but not later than 30 days after the accident, to their employer.
- Accept reasonable medical treatment and rehabilitation services.
- Work with the insurance carrier to make sure all documents are up-to-date.
- Attempt a job approved by the authorized treating physician even if the pay is lower than the previously-held job.
- File a claim within one year if they believe their compensation is unfair.
- Submit to a drug test following an on-the-job injury. If a worker refuses, there may be a determination that the accident and injury were caused by alcohol or drugs.
I understand that an employee who makes false claims will be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to 12 months, or both. Employers must post these rights in a public place in their business. These rights are included on the Georgia Complete Labor Law poster. See the Georgia Worker’s Compensation Bill of Rights poster here.
In the state of Missouri, Senate Bills 1 and 130 mean changes to the worker’s compensation plan. Most of the changes will take place in August 2005, so I thought it would be worthwhile to go over a few of them.
The definitions of “injury” and “accident” have changed. So if your accident occurred before August 2005, it will be subject to the old definition. Currently, the law says that work has to be a “substantial factor” in causing the injury. After August, the wording changes so that work is a “prevailing factor” in the resulting medical condition.
You can only get compensation for a disease if it is the direct result of occupational exposure. Factors such as aging and normal daily activities cannot be taken into account to determine whether the disease is compensable. This will include so-called repetitive motion diseases.
Workers who are driving a company vehicle will no longer be eligible for worker’s compensation if an injury occurs while driving to and from work. There will still be eligibility if the injury happens while driving a company-owned car and performing job duties.
The new law says that employees must report accidents to the employer in writing, including the name and address of the injured person and the time, place, and nature of the injury within thirty days. If reporting a disease or repetitive use injury, the report must take place within 30 days of being diagnosed.
One important change I noticed in the new law is that if an employee doesn’t use safety equipment or follow safety rules, the benefits can be reduced by 25 to 50 percent. It must be shown that they know about the safety rules that are in place. The old law stated that it must be “willful failure” to comply with safety measures.
With all of the new changes I am sure we are all aware that this means the labor law posters have also been changed to reflect the most updated information. The Missouri Complete Labor Law poster is now available with all the recent changes.
If you see insurance fraud and report it, Florida wants to reward you.
The Florida Anti-Fraud Reward Program offers rewards of up to $25,000 to people providing information to the Department of Insurance leading to the arrest and conviction of persons committing insurance fraud, including employers who illegally fail to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. A person cannot be sued or discriminated against for furnishing information on fraud, if they act without malice, fraud or bad faith.
A person who reveals employment fraud can receive:
• $25,000 for information of losses greater than $1 million.
• $10,000 for information of losses between $100,000 and $1 million.
• $5,000 for information of losses between $20,000 and $100,000.
• $1,000 for information of losses less than $20,000.
As I understand it, the two most common types of workers’ compensation fraud schemes are claimant compensation fraud schemes or claimant fraud and premium fraud.
In claimant fraud, an employee may receive benefits under false pretenses. The dishonest claimant may lie about the injury occurring on the job, or about the injury itself. In addition, the dishonest worker may overstate the extent and seriousness of the injury or receive money from other work while lying to the insurance company about income.
Premium fraud occurs when employers use a variety of schemes to defraud their workers’ compensation carriers by either not paying for workers’ compensation coverage at all, or by paying less than they should. The primary scams involve under-reporting of payroll, misclassification of workers, utilizing an improper loss experience factor, paying workers in cash while identifying them as subcontractors, or not having coverage at all.
Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious offense. In 1998, I know that the Florida Legislature enhanced the penalties for workers’ compensation fraud to mirror the Florida theft statute. Prior to this time, workers’ compensation fraud had been a third degree felony. Now a person can be charged with a first degree felony, depending on the amount of money stolen. In addition, the statute of limitations was increased from three to five years after the discovery of the crime.
A detailed description of worker’s compensation laws as well as all federal and state information can be found reflected on the Florida Complete Labor Law poster.