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clock January 18, 2020

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Making Sense of New York State Workers’ Comp Laws

In 2014, 169,000 injuries and/or illnesses resulted in workdays lost. That is a lot of time and money you’re losing. To make matters worse, if you don’t have workers’ compensation, you could be paying even more. 

Below we’ll review some components of the New York state workers’ comp laws.

Exceptions to the Rule

Employers must provide workers’ comp coverage to all employees. This includes part-time, full-time, employed family members, and most leased employees.

Yet, there are exceptions to every rule.

For non-profit organizations:

  • There is only one individual who runs and operates the business.
  • You run a partnership business (following New York State Laws) and have no other employees.
  • If two people own and run the business, and both members own all the stock of the company. The amount of stock amongst each member doesn’t matter.

Not-for-profit organizations have many more exceptions. Visit The New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Board if you wish to learn about them.


If you don’t meet the workers’ compensation requirements you can be fined. Depending on the infraction will determine how much money you’ll be shelling out.

Not Securing Coverage

Criminal: If you fail to provide compensation within twelve months. The amount you’re required to pay is determined by the number of employees you have.

If you have five or fewer employees, you can receive a charge of $1,000-$5,000. For more than five employees you can be fined $5,000-$50,000.

If you continue to fail to provide coverage for five years, you’ll pay between $10,000-$50,000. This is on top of any other fines you’re already paying.

Civil: Failing to make arrangements for compensation can lead to fines. Every ten days you can be charged up to $2,000 or no more than two times the cost of compensation.


Concealing or understating payroll, an employee’s duties, etc. will result in fines. For non-compliance, for every ten days, you can be charged $2,000. Alternately, you can be fined two times what the cost of compensation is.

If you’re found to be criminally convicted, you can be charged $1,000-$50,000.

Not Having Accurate Payroll Records

Criminal: If you willfully fail to provide accurate records you’ll pay between $5,000-$10,000. You can be fined $10,000-$25,000 if you were charged for criminal penalties within ten years of being fined again.

These records include wages, number of employees, accident reports, and employee classifications. Your records must include this information for the last four years.  

Civil: If you fail to keep accurate records you can be fined $1,000 every ten days or twice the amount of compensation.

Failing to Post Coverage

Once you have workers’ compensation, you’ll be given a Notice of Compliance form. This notice must be filled out and posted in a clear and visible location. If you fail to post the completed notice you can be charged no more than $250.


Below we’ll review some of the benefits you’re entitled to in New York State.


You can receive cash benefits from the first day you stop working. Keep in mind your disability leave must be longer than fourteen days for this to apply.

If you haven’t been out of work that long you won’t receive the cash benefits for the first seven days. Once you’re able to receive benefits, you’ll get paid every week.

To calculate how much money you’ll receive you need to know how much disability coverage you’ll be getting. This can be a total or partial disability. Partial disability equals 50% and total 100% of what you’d claim.

You’ll multiply that percentage by two-thirds of your previous year’s average weekly wage.

  • 2/3 x average weekly wage x % of disability = the sum of weekly benefits you’ll receive.

How much you make from cash benefits can’t exceed the state’s upper limit. Currently, New York stat’s upper limit is $934 weekly.

When you return to work you may not be able to make the same amount of money due to your disability. If that is the case, you’re entitled to cash benefits. The cash benefit can equate to two-thirds of what you’d normally make.  


No matter the length of your disability you’re entitled to all necessary medical care. This includes injury or illness-related disabilities. Employees must receive treatment from an authorized provider unless it’s an emergency.


The creation of supplemental benefits was due to rising costs over the years. How disabled you are will determine if you qualify for supplemental benefits. You can’t receive more than $215 a week from a combination of supplemental, death, and weekly benefits.

Social Security

You may receive Social Security benefits every month if you were seriously disabled. It needs to be a permanent or continuous disability that extends longer than 12 months.  


The surviving spouse and/or children (below the age of 18), are entitled to benefits. This applies if the employee died from a compensable accident.

If the employee has no spouse or children, the compensation can go to other dependents. For example, siblings and grandparents.

You’ll receive two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. As when they were alive, you still can’t go over the weekly upper limit.

The benefits may cover funeral expenses as well. 

New York State Workers’ Comp Laws

That concludes our review of New York state workers’ comp laws. There is much more to learn about workers’ compensation. Hopefully, this guide has helped fill you in on how workers’ comp affects you. 

Review our blog if you want to learn more about workers’ comp. 

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