Legislative Alert – Health and Safety Must Come First

[td_text_with_title custom_title=”President’s Message”]

Health and Safety Must Come First

Strengthening oversight and enforcement of workplace safety at all worksites in New York State needs to be a priority. There are several steps we can take as a State to meet that goal.

First, we need to refocus our efforts to reduce injury, illness and death when employees go to work. Creating a safe environment at work will not only help workers but will mean savings for employers in the long run by reducing Workers’ Compensation premium costs.

Second, we need to strengthen oversight and accountability of payroll reporting to address the problem of misclassified workers. We need to make sure that workers are properly classified and reported both for the purposes of ensuring wage laws are followed but also to ensure that the proper insurance premiums are being charged for the work performed.

Third, a recent report issued by the Manhattan District Attorney clearly outlined the widespread fraud that occurs as a result of misclassification and the need for payroll reform. Aside from the basic laws that are being broken, misclassification drives up the cost of workers’ compensation for law abiding employers. We urge support of S. 5376-A/A. 7921-A.

In addition, we need better enforcement of health and safety laws, particularly in the public sector, where OSHA is not responsible for inspections and enforcement. The Public Employee Safety and Health Act (PESH) is intended to provide basic health and safety standards for the public sector; yet a lack of enforcement and resources are hindering the PESH mission. We need to strengthen the PESH Act and put teeth into the NYS DOL’s ability to enforce the law. S. 4472/A. 6818 will do just that and we urge legislative support.

Finally, passage of Family Leave Insurance and increasing the temporary disability insurance benefit for disabled workers also must be a priority. When workers are injured or forced into a position to care for an injured or sick loved one, they need the peace of mind that they will not lose their livelihoods for meeting those obligations. We urge immediate passage of S. 4742-B/A. 1793-B.

Mario Cilento, President

[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Call To Action” header_color=”#1e73be” header_text_color=”#ffffff”]LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING
Monday, May 12, 2014, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany
Assembly Labor Chair, Carl Heastie will address the Lobbyists.[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Issue of the Week” header_color=”#1e73be” header_text_color=”#ffffff”]S. 5376-A Seward /A. 7921-A Cahill
Require Payroll Audits

This bill would amend the Workers’ Compensation Law to require periodic audits of employers. The audits would include a review of original payroll, financial, employment and other business records and in the case of construction class employers or at the request of the auditor, physical inspections of employers’ operations. Employers that refuse to cooperate with an audit would be compelled to pay an additional premium of three times their last annual premium.

This legislation represents a significant step in combating workers’ compensation fraud and is a primary reform recommendation of a recent report issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office with regard to Workers’ Compensation fraud. All too often, unscrupulous employers make misrepresentations or omit facts when dealing with their workers’ compensation carriers to avoid proper classification for premium calculations. Misclassification harms workers because it leads to inadequate workers’ compensation coverage and it leads to higher premiums for the vast majority of honest employers that play by the rules.[/td_text_with_title]