Appearing before the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development last Thursday, Attorney General Martha Coakley testified before lawmakers telling them that failure to carry worker’s compensation insurance for employees should carry the same penalty as worker’s compensation fraud. That is, it should be a felony.
‘By enhancing this penalty we will provide a more efficient deterrent to those employers that consider operating outside the law,” Coakley said, according to her written testimony. “Employer’s who fail to carry this insurance compete unfairly and exert an unfair advantage over those companies that do the right thing and follow the law.” She went on to say that worker’s compensation is a “crucial element of our social safety net” and this legislation will be a way in which to level the playing field for businesses.
The Attorney General appeared before the committee in support of s915 and s938. These bills were filed by Senators Katherine Clark and Thomas McGee. Under this proposed legislation, an employer’s failure to carry worker’s compensation insurance would become a felony, similar to the penalties enforced pursuant to the fraud statutes. A violation would carry a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. Under the current laws, failure to carry worker’s compensation insurance is only a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $1,500 fine.