In New Hampshire it’s a matter of days between a first report of injury form and when the employee starts to get their workers’ comp benefits. In fact, it’s just a matter of four days. After your employee reports their injury to you, and you submit the first report of injury to the New Hampshire state workers’ comp department, the employee then has to be out of work for four days before they start receiving their benefits.
On top of that, there is a three day waiting period—unless the disability of your worker lasts more than 14 days. Then that three day waiting period is waived. It can also be waived if your employee comes back to work in another temporary position—temporary because they’ll go back to their regular job after they recover.
Not quite sure what this also means about waived waiting periods and first reports of injuries? Then perhaps you and your employees could use some workers’ comp information sheets. Sorry to get sidetracked here in our blog entry on the New Hampshire’s workers’ comp injury reporting system, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to get a good reference material.
The workers’ comp information sheets are meant to be given to your new employees when they start with your organization, to familiarize them with how workers’ comp works at your company and in the state of New Hampshire in general. You also hand the workers’ comp information sheets out to your older employees every once in a while to remind them, as well, how the workers’ comp system works in New Hampshire and at your organization.
Take whether or not your employees can see their own doctors when they get hurt on the job. That is New Hampshire is not a simple answer, because it depends on whether your workers’ comp insurer uses a managed care program or not. If they do, then your employees must use a doctor within that network.
The laws on the books in the state of New Hampshire go back to being some of the first workers’ comp laws in the land. The original workers’ comp law in New Hampshire was signed and enacted in 1911, called the RSA 281. The original law made it imperative that employers have no fault workers’ comp coverage for their employees in the event that one of the employees have an accidental injury, occupational illness, or get killed on the job.
We talked about so-called no fault workers’ comp systems before, of course. As I mentioned in more than one of my previous blogs—but who is counting?—no fault workers’ comp means it doesn’t matter if the employee was doing something they shouldn’t have been doing when they got hurt. As long as they were at work and doing work-related things when they got hurt, then they deserve coverage under the New Hampshire system and other no fault systems.
Later in the history if the New Hampshire system—now that we’re getting back to the history and particularities of the New Hampshire system—the state created the Workers’ Compensation Division in the New Hampshire Department of Labor.
The whole purpose of this division is to enforce that original RSA 281 law, and all of its addendums and amendments, revisions and revocations, since 1911. Some of these responsibilities include overseeing the responsibilities of employers in New Hampshire, from making sure that employers have the right coverage, to making sure that the benefits and compensation are paid to injured workers, to conducting hearings on claims that have gone awry, to keeping an eye on insurance companies and claims companies that help employers stay on top of their workers’ comp requirements. The division also can certify some of the health and vocational trainers that come in and help employees get back to work.
It’s only been a few months since New Hampshire revised their Worker’s Compensation Law, so I thought it would be a good idea to mention it here in an informal setting. The Legislature passed a law this past February called SB 265. It requires out-of-state employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. In the past, some out-of-state employers were exempt from this coverage.
The change in coverage will affect many employees, some of whom who may not have been aware that there was an exemption in the first place. Thousands of New Hampshire residents are injured on the job each year and apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Because workers’ compensation law is complicated and frequently subject to change, many employees, as well as employers, may not be informed of the latest changes. The main responsibility for the insurance falls on the employer, who must make sure that he obtains coverage for an employee right away upon hiring him or her.
I’m sure most employers already know that after coverage is in effect, the employer must post a notice of compliance in a conspicuous spot in the place of business. This poster contains basic information about rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees. It also shows the name of the insurance carrier underwriting the workers’ compensation coverage.
The New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Division is the entity that enforces coverage compliance for employers. They monitor employees to be sure that they adhere to the law. They may also conduct hearings on claims, as well as overseeing the benefits that are paid to workers.
I think most people may not know that an injured worker has 2 years from the date of an injury’s occurrence to notify the employer in order to make a claim for benefits. If an illness develops gradually or an injury is not immediately recognized by the claimant, he or she must provide the best notice.
In my research on vacation shutdown laws, I noticed the law concerning vacation shutdowns has recently been revised. If a mass layoff takes place, even if it’s for holiday or vacation shutdown, the company must file a mass layoff notice with the Unemployment Insurance Department. If the employer fails to file, then it is considered to be a waiver of all rights to appeals. All the benefits claims that are filed will be charged to that employer, even if the employee might not have had the right to the claim.
When a vacation shutdown happens, employees must file a claim for Unemployment benefits. It is my understanding that this should be done after the last day of work. It can be filed either on the Internet or in person at a New Hampshire Employment Security office. After filing the claim, you must re-file every week to maintain your eligibility.
You’re probably aware that New Hampshire’s law does not state that employers have to provide employees with paid vacation time. But, if an employer does give vacation time, the law says that wages are due to the employee. You may have also seen posted notices at your place of employment detailing your employer’s practices and policies regarding vacation pay, sick leave, and other fringe benefits. Those posters are required by law to be displayed to all employees.
I am sure that if you’re an employer, posting the labor law posters will help you to correctly and effectively notify your employees of the labor laws and their workplace rights. This is your duty as set forth by the state of New Hampshire and Federal regulations. Not only will you be in compliance with the law, but the posters can help prevent the possibility of a dispute with your employee(s) due to negligence or miscommunication.