by Chaz Bolte
Virginia’s penalties for misclassifying workers in order to avoid paying insurance costs got a boost this month thanks to a new law. The Virginia Workers Compensation Act made it easier for the state to take action against violators, according to Virginia Workplace Law:
The civil penalty is now up to $250 per day for each day of noncompliance, subject to a maximum penalty of $50,000, plus collection costs.” The VWCA requires every business owner with more than two employees (a part-time worker is counted as one employee) to have coverage for such worker.
Language in the law will curtail unscrupulous employers from rebranding their employees as independent contractors, the Workers Compensation Commission said:
“Employers should also be aware, designating a worker as an ‘independent contractor’ does not necessarily mean they are not an employee. Workers’ compensation looks to whether the business exerts control over the manner and means of how the work is performed. In the event of a claim, the facts of the work circumstances will determine if the individual is covered for workers’ compensation, regardless of payment on a 1099 designation.”
The act is also aimed at stopping the practice of hiring subcontractors and citing a buck-passing ‘chain of command’ argument to circumvent the law:
If a business hires subcontractors to perform the same trade, business or occupation, or to fulfill a contract of the business, the subcontractor’s employees are included in determining the total number of employees …A business or contractor that hires subcontractors to assist in their work or fulfill a contract must count the subcontractor’s employees as well as their own when considering if they have more than two employees, if yes, the business /contractor is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. This is true even if all subcontractors have their own coverage.”
Chaz Bolte is a native of Pittsburgh, PA where he attended Slippery Rock University. He currently contributes to WePartyPatriots, Addicting Info, Secret Party Room, and Football Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @ChazBolte