In this Edition... Summer Construction Check-Off List

The weather is warming up, and construction projects are picking up across the state. It’s important that employers and employees understand the laws surrounding public works projects and workers’ compensation. This month’s issue features the latest in compliance for working on public works projects, worker rights after being injured on the job, and basic employer insurance responsibilities.

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NEW! Public Works Guidebook

Alice Moyer-Wing - First Cabinet Member

Are you a contractor or simply working on public works projects this summer? Because public works projects are paid for by tax dollars, those controlling and working them are held to a higher standard. To assist you in complying with the many Missouri laws surrounding those construction projects, the Department has created a guidebook for both contractors and public bodies. Introducing…the Public Works Guidebook!

This guidebook contains check-off lists for projects start to finish, copies of the laws that you need to be familiar with, forms that are required to be filled out, and other important information to assist with projects benefiting the public.

Inside the guidebook, you will find information on topics like hours, wages and dismissal rights, health and safety of employees, misclassification of workers, and ADA guidelines. You will also find Prevailing Wage Project Notifications and how to report your payroll records.

In Missouri, it’s important to remember no less than the prevailing hourly rate of wages must be paid to all workmen employed by or on behalf of any public body engaged in public works, exclusive of maintenance work.

Public works dollars benefit the local and state economies through increases in sales tax and corporate tax revenue, while at the same time ensuring that construction in Missouri remains a highly trained occupation capable of producing quality construction.

The Department diligently investigates any alleged prevailing wage violations. Any officer, official, member, agent or representative of any public body, contractor or subcontractor who willfully violates the prevailing wage law can be punished by a fine of up to $500, by imprisonment of up to six months, or both. It’s also important to remember that each day that a violation or omission continues constitutes a separate offense.

With the complexity of the law, you or your colleagues may need assistance, and the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is ready and willing to help. We rely on your tips to investigate potential wage violations, and can assist you with any questions you have concerning public works projects. You can file a prevailing wage complaint here or contact the Division of Labor Standards for assistance.

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Avoiding "Double" Injuries

Lucile Bluford - First Human Rights Commissioner

Were you injured on the job and then discharged shortly after? Not only are you injured, but you are left without a paycheck, which you need to take care of your family and basic necessities.

Missouri law states that no employer or agent of the employer shall discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee for exercising any of his or her rights under this chapter.  (Section 287.780 of the Missouri Revised Statutes).

What action can you take if you have been discriminated against?

If you believe you have been discharged or discriminated against because you have exercised your workers’ compensation rights, your remedy is to file a civil action lawsuit in circuit court.

However, an employee can be fired for post-injury conduct. The term “post-injury misconduct” has not been defined in the Workers’ Compensation Law. You need to comply with your physician’s orders relating to your ability to return to work. “Post-injury misconduct” does not include being absent from work due to your injury, unless your physician says you are capable of working with restrictions.  Filing a suit in circuit court is a complex legal matter, and you should consult with a lawyer before doing so.

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Workers' Compensation Responsibilities 101

Ruth Ann Kuntz - First Woman Miner

Whether you are an employer just opening your business, or have been the owner for several years, it’s important to stay current on your responsibilities for providing workers’ compensation insurance for your employees.

In the state of Missouri you are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if you have five or more employees, unless you are in the construction industry, then you must carry workers’ compensation insurance if you have one or more employees who erect, demolish, alter or repair improvements.  

Those who must provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees can either go through an insurance carrier or may choose to be self-insured upon approval from the Division.

There are certain businesses or occupations that are exempt from carrying Missouri Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Railroad, postal, and maritime workers are covered by federal law and not by state law. Other exceptions include farm labor, domestic servants in a private home, occasional labor performed for or related to a private household, and qualified real estate agents.  You can find other exemptions here.

If an employer doesn’t have the required number of employees or who are in the exempt categories, they may choose to carry or not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers that decide not to purchase workers’ compensation insurance or to self-insure have the chance to be exposed to lawsuits brought by employees who are injured on the job.

It is a criminal offense to operate a business without having the required coverage and it could expose an employer to civil liability. Don’t get caught without coverage; if you have a question about obtaining workers’ compensation insurance your employees, contact the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

If you are an employee and you think your employer is not complying with the workers’ compensation law, you should contact the Fraud and Non-Compliance Unit at 800-592-6003.

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