Under current Massachusetts law, the failure of a business owner to purchase workers’ compensation for their employees is considered a misdemeanor-which carries a fine of up to $1500 or a year in prison. However, some believe the penalty is too light and hope to raise the penalty. According to reports, this week, the Massachusetts Senate will consider a bill that would raise the violation to a felony-which is already the fine for workers’ compensation fraud and carries a fine of up to $10,000, 5 years in prison or 2.5 years in jail. Currently, if a business owner does not purchase workers’ compensation, the state must pay for the compensation from a state trust fund-which comes from employers who do pay for workers’ comp and which reports indicate cost $26 million from the fund in the last 5 years.
As with all changes, however, there is opposition from those who believe the penalty is already high enough. We will update you with the progression (or lack thereof) of the bill. If you have any questions about the bill, its progress, or how it may affect you, feel free to contact an attorney.
Workers’ compensation failure a felony under bill before Senate, BostonHerald.com, April 15, 2012