I recently came across the Rhode Island Website devoted to Workers’ Compensation. This site is phenomenal – it offers information about labor and training, and has a very comprehensive section devoted to answering common questions. In short, the site makes it easy to understand the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Law without having to spend too much time digging around.
Here’s what I found out in only a few minutes:
As of January 1, 1999, every person, firm, public service or private organization in Rhode Island, including the State itself, that employs workers regularly in the same business must adhere to the Workers’ Compensation Law. This fairly well means that every business in Rhode Island needs to comply with the law.
The only exemptions from the law include sole proprietors, partners and independent contractors. In addition, the State recognizes that it is often the case that real estate, agricultural and domestic service employees can also be exempt from the law.
If an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance in Rhode Island, there are civil and administrative penalties for each day of noncompliance until the employer invests in the insurance. As such, there are also criminal penalties, which can result in fines and imprisonment.
Additionally, employers must disclose their compensation to all prospective employees at the time of their application. If the employer is exempt, then the employer must notify the employees or potential employees. Employers must also post a poster, which is available in both English and Spanish. The poster must be placed in a visible, trafficked location. Any tampering of the poster can result in a penalty or fine.
If an employee in Rhode Island is then injured at work, the State law states that the employer must report the injury and offer medical treatment. There is a $250 fine if an employer fails to report the injury the first time.