The department’s Division of Worker’s Compensation has referred 184 cases to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office so far this year, compared to 104 last year at this time. These cases either involved employers who did not provide required coverage or did not report the worker’s injury to the DWC.
The department has recovered $314,000 in penalties from fraud and non-compliance cases so far this year, Amy Susan, director of communications, told Missouri Watchdog.
The stepped up effort to find employers skirting the requirements of the worker’s compensation system has not cost the state any more money, Susan said. “We’ve streamlined our procedures to make them more efficient and re-prioritized our efforts.”
Missouri law requires every employer in the state with five or more employees to carry worker’s compensation coverage. Meanwhile, employers in the construction field must carry worker’s compensation coverage if they have one or more employees.
Employers are also required to report workplace injuries to the state.
So far in 2010, however, 1,369 work related injuries have not been reported, according to the state Labor Department. In 2009, 2,669 injuries were not reported.
In addition to stepping up efforts to insure employers are complying with the law, the department has begun new efforts to make the worker’s compensation system more transparent and accountable.
Employees can now go to the department’s website to check whether their employer carries worker’s compensation coverage and the effective dates of the policy. The department also changed its website to make it easier for the public to report worker’s compensation fraud and non-compliance.
By Brian R. Hook, firstname.lastname@example.org, (314) 482-7944