The Oklahoma Department of Labor reported that its legal interpretation of recently passed Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC)legislation is that CNC cards remain in effect until the expiration date printed on the cards. The legislation repeals the CNC program effective July 1.
The Labor Department said cardholders whose certificates are about to expire may want to consider renewing them at this time. To facilitate new or renewal CNC qualified applicants, the Department of Labor will remain open until 8:00 p.m., Thursday, June 30, 2005.
Applications must be hand-delivered to the agency’s Oklahoma City office, 4001 North Lincoln Blvd. Thursday, June 30, is the last opportunity to obtain a new or renewed CNC card. The CNC program becomes extinct on Friday, July 1.
Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau and Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland are cautioning against any unwarranted expectations that independent contractors should be required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance in order to work.
Repeal of the CNC program reportedly has many insurance companies scrambling to write policies for the 20,000 affected cardholders or to require general contractors to pay higher premiums to cover sub-contractors.
“Repealing the CNC program doesn’t change an individual’s status,” Reneau said. “A person’s work-related circumstances are not affected by whether or not we have a CNC program. The card still tells the truth unless those circumstances change.”
“The Department of Labor acknowledges the need for the cards to remain in affect until the issued expiration dates,” Reneau said. “This agency is assisting Attorney General Drew Edmondson whose office is in the process of preparing an official opinion on the matter.”
Because of the abbreviated time frame, the attorney general will not be able to issue that opinion before the CNC Program is repealed on July 1. In the interim, the Department of Labor will not take any adverse action against CNC cardholders unless it determines that a cardholder is no longer qualified as a sole proprietor.
Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland released the following statement, “After careful consideration and deliberation with Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau, and until such time as the attorney general issues an opinion in this matter, I agree that CNC cards remain in effect until the expiration date printed on the cards.
“Commissioner Reneau has determined the cardholder to be an independent contractor based on a reasonable inquiry of all evidence submitted to her by the applicant,” continued Holland. “For the purposes of workers’ compensation insurance and exemption from the Workers’ Compensation Act, the CNC cards continue to serve as a rebuttable presumption that the certificate holder is not an employee.”
“I appreciate Commissioner Holland’s assistance in this matter,” Reneau said. “We can’t simply pull the rug out from under legitimate men and women who make their living as sole proprietors just because there may be a few kinks to work out among state policy makers.”
Apart from any CNC program, the state Labor Department maintains its statutory authority and responsibility for determining a business’ exemption status under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Repeal of the CNC program will not affect the operation of the agency’s Workers’ Compensation Enforcement Unit.
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