A new Delaware law requires that employers maintain workers’ compensation insurance for contractors, independent contractors’ partners and sole proprietors in the construction industry. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 68, mandates that companies provide workers’ compensation insurance for almost every independent contractor.
The measure was signed into law by Governor Ruth Ann Minner on May 23, 2007. Part of the bill clarifies the requirement that partners and sole proprietors must maintain workers’ compensation insurance in the construction industry. This requirement went into effect on July 17, 2007.
There are some exceptions for executives under the new law. A total of four executive officers of a corporation may be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage, if they are shareholders. In addition, four members of a limited liability corporation may elect to be exempt from coverage under workers’ compensation insurance, as long as this is in writing.
According to the Delaware Division of Industrial Affairs, workers’ compensation is a system created by the Delaware legislature, that provides benefits to workers who are injured at work. Benefits are also paid to workers who contract a work-related illness.
Benefits under the Delaware workers’ comp program include medical care, temporary disability payments and compensation for any permanent impairment.
If a worker suffers a fatal work-related accident, benefits are paid to the family of the worker. In many cases, benefits are paid voluntarily. In other cases, the worker or the worker’s survivors must petition the Office of Workers’ Compensation for benefits.
Under state law, employers with one or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers may not charge an employee any portion of the premium or expense of carrying workers’ compensation insurance. Employers in the agricultural industry are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on employees, however, these employers may elect to provide coverage if they like.
In most cases, workers’ comp pays benefits even if the employee was at fault in the accident. However, in some cases, if the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that caused the accident, benefits may be denied.
Certain requirements must be met in order to qualify for workers’ Compensation benefits. The requirements are established by law in Title 19, Delaware Code and are administered by the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Industrial Affairs, and Office of Workers’ Compensation.
In many industries, workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employees, are not covered. However, under this new law, virtually every independent contractor in the construction industry must be covered.
An employee who is injured should immediately notify the employer in writing of the injury or occupational disease, and request medical treatment. Failure to notify an employer or to accept medical treatment may prevent the employee from collecting benefits under workers’ comp.
Generally, workers may collect their salary or usual compensation if they must be out of work for more than 3 days due to a work-related injury or accident. At that time, the employer or a supervisor should be notified, in writing, by the employee that he/she is requesting payment of workers’ comp benefits.
In the case of work-related fatalities, one or more of the employee’s survivors, or another person acting on their behalf, must notify the employer.
If there is a disputed claim under workers’ comp, and the employer and employee cannot resolve it, they must file an application with the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation for a hearing before the Industrial Accident Board. The application must be filed within 2 years of the accident or within one year of the diagnosis of an occupational disease.
Workers’ comp benefits are generally paid by an insurance company. By law, every employer is required to file a First Report of Occupational Injury or Disease within 10 days after he or she learns of a work-related injury. One copy goes to the3 state Office of Workers’ Compensation and the second goes to the insurance carrier. This is true, no matter how minor the injury is. An employer may be fined $100 to $250 for failure to report an injury.
A recent bill promises to save employers money through Delaware workers comp reform. Earlier this year Governor Ruth Ann Minner signed Senate Bill 1 into law. The bill requires that all independent contractors be covered under a workers comp insurance plan. Delaware is one of the few states with such a provision.
Under the new law, people who work as independent contractors have the option to purchase insurance coverage to satisfy the workers comp insurance requirement. Alternatively, if they choose, they may be insured by a general contractor. These requirements went into effect on January 17, 2007. This provision applies to contractors, subcontractors and independent contractors.
In the past, in Delaware and many other states, independent contractors were not covered under any workers comp plan. They were essentially self-employed, and assumed any risk for injury. This was also true for contractors and subcontractors. Under the current law, all that has changed in Delaware.
All contractors, subcontractors and independent contractors are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage immediately, if they have not already done so. The law gives the state the power to charge daily penalties ranging from $10 to $250 per day, for any uninsured independent contractors. Additional penalties may also be applied against anyone who does not comply with this new law.
Contractors, subcontractors and independent contractors may contact the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation for a full explanation of the requirements and for assistance in obtaining coverage.
This coverage was a keystone of Governor Minner’s reform efforts. The bill is one that Gov. Minner’s administration has been working on for more than two years at the request of Delaware businesses. Some estimate that Delaware businesses will see savings of up to 20% on their workers comp insurance as a result of the legislation.
“We have made some tremendous accomplishments during my administration, but we still have work to do over the next few years,” Gov. Ruth Ann Minner said. “I look forward to working with our General Assembly during the coming months on legislation that will improve the lives of Delawareans, especially in the areas of education, health care, economic development and the economy.”
Delaware, the First State, might not have been the first state to set up a workers’ comp system. Actually, I do not know who was the first state to do so, and I would be interested in finding out if somebody does know this. But nevertheless, First State or not, Delaware has some changes perhaps on the way for its workers’ comp system that all employers in the state should know about.
The Department of Labor in Delaware has adopted new requirements for workers’ comp coverage for employers in the state, which make it mandatory for all contractors, subcontractors, and independent contractors in the state to have workers’ comp insurance for themselves and for any of their workers. When it comes to independent contractors, however, the rule is slightly different. They can opt to buy their own workers’ comp insurance for themselves and their employees, according to this new rule, or they can opt to get their insurance through the general contractor that they are working for on a given project.
If a contractor, subcontractor or independent contractor fails to follow this new rule by the Delaware Department of Labor, they can face stiff daily penalties of $10 to $250. they could also face other civil and criminal penalties under the new law. These new rules went into effect on January 17, 2007, so I hope you contractors out there in the state of Delaware are already aware of them, and following them for your workers’ comp coverage.
If you do have any questions left at this point, however, feel free to contact the Department of Labor in the state, specifically a woman by the name of Linda Sewell, at 302-761-8200. You can also contact her by e-mail at the following work address for her: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The governor of Delaware, Ruth Ann Minner, signed a new law into effect that could drastically change the way that workers’ comp is done in the state. Here’s an update on the law that was passed back in January 17, 2007, called Senate Bill 1.
Part of the new workers’ comp law that makes sure that employers who are independent contractors in the state are covered under some form of workers’ comp insurance. They can buy this workers’ comp insurance through a regular insurance company, or they can buy their insurance or get it in some way or another through the general contractor that they work through. These coverage requirements kicked in as soon as the governor signed that bill into law, on January 17. So that means that if you are a independent contractor, subcontractor, or general contractor in the state of Delaware, you better already have this insurance coverage in place.
The penalties for not having this coverage in place could range from $10 to $250 per day for non coverage of the proper workers’ comp insurance policies. If transgressions continue to happen for a particular contractor, the state withholds the right under the law to use even more stringent methods to punish the contractor.
But the state also has a hot line—which is the important news that I have been meaning to get to—that contractors, independent contractors, and subcontractors can contact in order to find out more info on how they can get the proper coverage, what exactly that proper coverage. The hot line is at 302-761-8200, and I would assume that by contacting it, contractors are not going to be punished for asking questions about how to get coverage as long as they then go out and get the needed coverage.
That workers’ comp law passed by Governor Ruth Ann Minner doesn’t stop with just a clarification to the way that contractors and subcontractors should handle workers’ comp coverage for their employees. The new law passed and then signed last week by the governor also does a few other things to the way that workers’ comp is done in the First State.
For instance, the new law also sets up requirements for the way that attorneys have to petition the Industrial Accident Board. Now, attorneys, when petitioning the Delaware Industrial Accident Board for fees, must also send along an affidavit. Then on top of that, the new law states that any fees awarded to the counsel of an injured employee also offset the costs and payments that the employee had to pay to the lawyer later.
The law also requires that there be a new set of procedures enacted that will redefine the way that attorneys are paid for workers’ compensation cases and work. From now on, any lawyer that is representing an employee must have a fee arrangement in writing. This is meant to limit the way an attorney can collect regularly from the employee’s periodic payments of benefits.
Because of the new law, attorneys will only be allowed to collect from the employee’s benefit payment in special situations, and these special circumstances must be corroborated and approved by the Industrial Accident Board.
Another part of the new workers’ comp law allows that employers and their insurance companies can make payments for compensation benefits or health care providers, without having to worry about later relinquishing their right to argue against the workers’ comp claim. Also included in the law: the set up of a Health Care Advisory Panel to study the overall costs of health care.