Gov. Hickenlooper signs Uninsured Employer Act
When it comes to the issue of who is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, the law here in Colorado is explicit: all employers are required to carry this coverage for their employees absent a few specific exclusions.
Furthermore, the law declares that both full-time employees and part-time employees are protected by this mandatory work comp coverage, and that neither classification of worker can be required to contribute any portion of their wages toward premiums.
As we’ve discussed on our blog, those employers who fail to abide by this requirement can be fined up to $250 by the Division of Workers’ Compensation and, if the issue goes unaddressed, be shut down until the matter is resolved.
Despite the existence of this mechanism for holding employers accountable, things have long proven difficult for employees who actually suffer work-related injuries and whose employer is lacking work comp coverage. Indeed, many are left with not just unpaid medical bills, but also lost wages.
Fortunately, a bill that garnered bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper earlier this week should help address this issue.
HB-1119, otherwise known as the Uninsured Employer Act, dictates that the fines collected by the Division of Workers’ Compensation from noncompliant employers will henceforth be diverted directly into a fund established to help injured workers unable to rely on work comp instead of a general fund.
It also vests the Division with the authority to set daily fines for noncompliant employers that it believes are appropriate under the circumstances.
Somewhat fittingly, the signing coincides with a proclamation issued by Gov. Hickenlooper designating June as Workplace Safety Month in the state of Colorado.
Here’s hoping that the Uninsured Employer Act makes a difference …
If you’ve been seriously injured in a workplace accident and have seen your claim for work comp benefits denied, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options.