California’s underground economy endangers many of our state’s workers. A large number of businesses in California operate illegally, ducking payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and the safety rules mandated by federal and state law. In 2011, California’s Department of Industrial Relations examined the records of 1,500 businesses and discovered that almost a third of them lacked the workers’ compensation insurance coverage that the law requires. Corner-cutting employers frequently disregard health and safety regulations, and many of these same California employers fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
The problem has grown so widespread in recent years that the state has created a Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) to protect workers from hazardous work environments and to ensure that the state receives the appropriate employment taxes, fees, and penalties. When businesses operate in compliance with the law, workers have safer workplaces, fewer injuries, and full workers’ compensation benefits.
The mission of the LETF is to induce “underground” businesses to comply with the law. For employers, the benefits of compliance are substantial: lower claims costs and the heightened productivity that comes with fewer employee injuries and fewer missed days of work. If more employers pay into the workers’ compensation coverage pool, premiums for individual businesses should eventually drop.
Safety is good business. A focus on workplace safety ultimately boosts the bottom line for every business in California. If you’ve been injured or disabled in California while working for an “underground” or out-of-compliance employer, speak right away to an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney. A good workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine what compensation you are entitled to and how long you will be eligible to receive it. Especially if you have suffered a permanent loss of earning capacity, contact an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney and begin receiving the compensation that is rightly yours.