Illinois employers – even those who employ as few as one employee – are subject to certain requirements with respect to workers’ compensation. The employer’s primary obligation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is to obtain workers’ compensation on behalf of all employees. Workers’ compensation insurance must be obtained at the sole expense of the employer, and no portion of the premiums or benefits can be charged back to the employee. Illinois employers are allowed to self-insure, but they must obtain state approval to do so.
In addition to the obligation to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or obtain state approval to self-insure, Illinois employers are required to:
Post a notice (found at http://www.iwcc.il.gov/forms.htm) in the workplace regarding workers’ compensation rights;
Keep records of work-related injuries; and
Report to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission those accidents involving more than three lost work days.
Moreover, Illinois employers are prohibited from doing the following:
Charging any employee for any part of workers’ compensation insurance premium or benefits; and
Harassing, discharging, refusing to hire, or in any way discriminating against an employee for exercising his or her workers’ compensation rights.
You can check your employer’s workers’ compensation compliance standing at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC) website or by contacting the IWCC’s Insurance Compliance Division at (866) 352-3033.
After an employer receives notice of a workplace accident, it must:
Provide all necessary first aid and medical services.
Inform the insurance carrier or workers’ compensation administrator, even if the employer disputes the employee’s claim.
If the employee cannot work for more than three days because of the injury, the employer must either: (a) begin payments of TTD, (b) give the employee a written explanation of the additional information the employer needs before it will begin payments, or (c) give the employee a written explanation of why benefits are being denied.
Penalties for Employer’s Failure to Comply with Workers’ Compensation Obligations
If you become aware of a violation of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, you should report the alleged violation to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Insurance Compliance Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (312) 814-6611 (toll-free at (866) 352-3033).
If an employer knowingly fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or otherwise fails to comply with its obligations under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, it is subject to significant penalties. In fact, if an employer knowingly fails to secure workers’ compensation benefits, it is punishable by a Class 4 felony for each day without coverage, up to a maximum of 1-3 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.
The negligent failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance is publishable by a Class A misdemeanor for each day without coverage, up to a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.
Uninsured employers may also be subject to civil penalties of $500 for each day that it lacked workers’ compensation insurance, with a minimum fine of $10,000.
What to Do If Your Employer Fails to Comply with Workers’ Compensation Obligations
If your employer fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or wrongfully denies your workers’ compensation claim, you should contact a skilled workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.