The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has released the names of 100 Ohio businesses who reportedly owe at least $10,000 in unpaid workers’ compensation premiums. The names of these companies will be published on BWC’s Web site, ohiobwc.com.
“Ohio’s workers’ compensation system succeeds when businesses pay premiums on time,” Governor Bob Taft said. “In order to keep costs low for all employers while maintaining high-quality benefits for Ohio workers, we must continue to aggressively pursue those companies that dodge their financial obligations to BWC and the state.”
BWC Administrator/CEO James Conrad echoed the Governor’s sentiments. “We will not tolerate businesses that are trying to cheat Ohio’s workers’ compensation system,” Conrad said. “BWC will not let employers shirk their responsibilities to pay workers’ comp premiums; those that try will face serious consequences.”
Of the 100 employers on the list, 73 are headquartered in Ohio, while others are located as far east as New Jersey all the way west to Oregon. Collectively, the group owes more than $2.2 million for the payroll period of Jan. 1, 2004, through June 30, 2004; the average business owes $22,016.
Specific premium amounts for each company are not public record.
Overall, more than 1,800 companies owe BWC at least $1,000. These premium obligations were due in full by Aug. 31.
According to Conrad, companies that fail to pay premiums not only hurt the workers’ comp system, they adversely affect Ohio businesses and citizens as well. “By not paying premiums, a business can use that money for other purposes,” Conrad said. “They can undercut competition and unfairly win a job, stealing work they normally might not win. They also pose problems to private citizens who may contract for their services. For the good of BWC and all Ohioans, this type of activity must end.”
BWC works aggressively to get non-compliant employers to pay their premiums. The bureau immediately sends offending employers a notice, alerting them their workers’ comp premiums have not been paid. BWC then attempts to work with the businesses to regain coverage through phone calls, letters and business visits. Should these efforts fail their premium amounts are certified to the Ohio Attorney General’s office for legal action.
The Ohio Attorney General’s office assesses interest to lapsed accounts and in some situations, will file a lien or even enjoin the property.
Furthermore, should an employee be injured on the job while the business’ workers’ comp coverage is lapsed, the employer would have to pay dollar for dollar the cost of the claim.
To help enlist Ohio citizens, BWC has unveiled a tool on its Web site, the employer coverage look-up, which will allow the public to check out employers and see if they’re paying into the system. This tool can be accessed by going to ohiobwc.com and clicking on Ohio employers, then Coverage look-up.
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