Maryland’s Office of Legislative Audits is a 10-member commission responsible for receiving and reviewing reports about workplace accidents, settling claims, conducting hearings, and issuing referrals to workers for rehabilitation. The group can also assess fines against employers who purportedly fall short in workers’ compensation coverage.
According to the state workers’ compensation commission, countless Maryland-based employers statewide are lacking proper insurance. State law mandates that companies with one or more staff members must carry either workers’ compensation insurance or receive clearance by the commission to self-insure.
A lack of workers’ compensation coverage?
Fiscal year 2022 revealed in excess of 22,000 claims filed with the commission. More than 16,000 secured permanent disability or death benefits, all valued at close to $374 million. Data purportedly came from auditors looking into records for companies joining the system from July 1, 2017, to December 31, 2020. If those numbers are in fact accurate, more than 1,600 businesses were found without active workers’ compensation coverage.
For these employers, financial penalties for non-compliance can cost $10,000, an amount that can be devastating to any business’ bottom line. A lack of compliance could force employers to face potentially reputation-damaging public hearings under a far too bright spotlight.
Falling short of workers’ compensation coverage goes beyond punitive measures from government agencies and could affect a company’s financial situation and reputation within the community.