Who needs to carry worker's compensation insurance?
- Effective January 1, 1999, every person, firm, public service or private corporation, including the State, that employs employees regularly in the same business is subject to the Workers' Compensation law.
Who is exempt from the Workers' Compensation Law?
- Exemptions include: Sole proprietors, partners, and independent contractors. Certain real estate, agricultural and domestic service employees may be exempt. Any person who was appointed a corporate officer between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2001, and was not previously an employee of the corporation is exempt, but can elect to be covered by filing a DWC-11C form with the Division of Workers' Compensation.
Are there penalties for not carrying workers' compensation insurance?
- There are civil and administrative penalties that can be imposed for each day of noncompliance. There are also criminal penalties, which can result in fines and possible imprisonment. For further information see RI Workers' Compensation Law, Section 28-36-15
4. Are there any disclosure and posting requirements regarding workers' compensation?
- Yes, all employers must disclose to all prospective employees at the time of application either that the employer is subject to or exempt from workers' compensation. If exempt, the specific type of exemption must be disclosed. RI Workers' Compensation Law Section 28-29-13, requires employers to post a notice that includes insurer information. The posters are available in English and Spanish. You may contate the Education Unit at (401) 462-8100 option 1 or WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov to request a copy of the poster, or download them by clicking here - English Poster | Spanish Poster. You need Adobe Reader VERSION 4 or higher to view or print the poster.
Can an employee complete a first report of injury?
- The Employer's First Report of Injury form must be completed by the employer or his or her designee, not the employee. An employee can complete a company incident report.
Can I send an injured worker to a physician under agreement with my company?
- An injured employee may choose the initial medical treatment. The first visit to any facility or physician under contract or agreement with you or your insurer to provide priority care shall not constitute the employee's initial choice.
- 7. Is there a waiting period before commencing workers' compensation?
- No weekly indemnity is paid for an injury that does not incapacitate the employee for three (3) days from earning full wages. There is a 3-day waiting period.
- 8. Do I have to continue health care benefits for my injured employee?
- Under Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Law, Section 28-33-44, you are required to provide for the continuation of health benefit coverage for a period of up to two (2) years from the commencement of workers' compensation benefits. However, in 1992, the United States Supreme Court held that ERISA's preemption clause is activated whenever a conflicting state law references an already existing benefit play.
If you fall under the aegis of ERISA, then the preemption clause negates the requirement of the RI Workers' Compensation Act to provide continuing health care coverage. For further information contact the Education Unit at 462-8100 option 1 or WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov
- 9. Can I replace an injured worker who is out on compensation?
- A worker who has sustained a compensable injury and is not disabled from performing the duties of the position, with reasonable accommodation made by you, shall be reinstated to his or her former position upon demand, if the position exists and is available. This is considered the Right to Reinstatement. This requirement does not apply to: a worker hired on a temporary basis or employed in a seasonal occupation; a worker hired out of a union hiring hall; employers who employ nine (9) or fewer workers at the time of injury or a worker who is on a probationary period of less than 91 days.
This section includes certain provisions which may terminate the employee's right to reinstatement. Any violation of this section is deemed an unlawful employment practice, and the RI Workers' Compensation Court will render reinstatement disputes.
If an employee is entitled to reinstatement but the position sought does not exist or is not available, the employee may file for unemployment as if then laid off from that employment.
For more complete information, refer to the RI Workers' Compensation Law, Section 28-33-47.
Can an employer be accused of workers' compensation fraud?
- The Workers' Compensation Court is authorized to impose sanctions and penalties. It is unlawful for an employer to willfully misrepresent or not disclose information to an insurer to obtain insurance at lower rates; to make or cause to be made any knowingly false statement for the purpose of obtaining or denying compensation; to fail to report earnings during the payment of compensation benefits; to make knowingly false statements regarding an employee's right to benefits and to knowingly assist and abet, solicit, or conspire to coerce an employee to willfully represent their status as a corporate officer or independent contractor to avoid workers' compensation coverage required or to decrease premium. These are a partial listing of offenses. See Section 28-33-17.3 of the RI Workers' Compensation Law.
What are the penalties?
- Any person found guilty of violating this section of the law shall be subject to criminal proceedings and to a fine and/or penalty up to $50,000 or double the fraud, whichever is greater, or by imprisonment up to five (5) years in state prison or both.
- 12. Problems or questions?
- If you have problems or questions about workers' compensation, call the Education Unit at (401) 462-8100 option 1 or e-mail the Education Unit at WCEdcUnit@dlt.ri.gov