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Report: Many Ohio businesses fail to pay workers' comp premiums

Ohio workers who suffer on-the-job injuries are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits pursuant to a system in which state employers pay compensation premiums to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC).

An analysis undertaken by writers from an Ohio newspaper reveals that scores of thousands of state employers apparently expend as much energy avoiding making those payments as they do fulfilling their statutory obligations.

In fact, concludes a report from the Middletown Journal, an estimated 41,000-plus private employers in Ohio did not report payroll information and pay their premiums for 2011 by this year's February 29 deadline.

Employers failing to meet their state-law duty to provide coverage for workers run the gamut of businesses and industries, from construction and retailers to child care centers and a wide swath of small businesses.

"Most of the time when you see somebody who doesn't pay their workers' comp premium, they are trying to cut corners on their overhead," says one close observer and commentator on compensation practices and benefits.

He adds: "If they do not pay for insurance premiums, they can charge less for jobs."

That recalcitrant behavior, though, ratchets up insurance costs for businesses that do toe the line by meeting their payment duties.

The BWC states that it works with non-paying companies before it imposes penalties on them, noting that many of them are struggling.

The bureau cautions, though, that not paying into the system as required can be the most costly outcome of all when a worker suffers a workplace injury or accident.

In such an instance, notes Kevin Abrams, the BWC chief of employer services, "anything that occurs during that period is charged to the employer, dollar for dollar."

Source: Middletown Journal, "Deadbeat firms face charges for skipping workers' comp payments," Cornelius Frolik, May 17, 2012

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