The Vermont Department of Labor is reminding businesses that legislative changes taking affect July 1st could mean immediate closure of businesses found to be without required workers’ compensation insurance.Act 142 takes effect July 1st that requires the Department of Labor to close a business immediately if an employer fails to carry required workers’ compensation insurance. The legislation also stiffens penalties for failure to carry insurance of $150 to $250 per day that a business operates without insurance with stiffer penalties for failure to comply with a stop work order. Fines will be increasing on employers who fail to abide by the law by misclassifying workers’ as independent contractors to avoid costs and obtain an advantage over their competitors. These fines can be up to $5,000 per misclassified employee. Lastly, the legislation creates a fifth position at the Department to investigate misclassification by Vermont employers. Three new investigative positions were created in legislation passed in 2009. These investigators will be out on the streets to persuade employers it is in their best interest to comply with the law by obtaining the required coverage.Over the past year, the Vermont Department of Labor has been stepping up investigation of and enforcement against employers lacking workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Vermont, like other States, is encountering a serious problem that threatens the health and safety of its workforce – the misclassification of workers and the failure of employers to obtain required workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees.A recent sweep of the Church Street area of Burlington revealed several non-complying businesses. The Department ordered them to close if they could not provide evidence of workers’ compensation insurance coverage within five days. Some of the Burlington employers under investigation have admitted that they had deliberately avoided obtaining workers’ compensation insurance altogether to cut business costs; others had previously obtained insurance coverage but their policies had been canceled due to non-payment of premiums.In addition to stepping up coverage investigations, the Department will also be conducting employer seminars to help employers understand misclassification issues. These seminars will be directed towards helping employers understand that, in most cases, an independent contractor who does not have employees of its own is actually an employee of the business as it related to the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance programs. Dates and locations of the employer seminars will be posted Labor’s website at www.labor.vermont.gov(link is external).Vermont’s Workers’ Compensation system was first established in 1915, providing a ‘no-fault’ insurance program whereby employees may receive medical and disability benefits for a variety of work-related injuries and illnesses. If an employer carries the mandatory insurance, they are not subject to civil suit by an injured worker. If the employer fails to carry insurance and an employee is injured or becomes ill, that employee can sue for damages. Depending on the injury, that could result in the loss of the business, an owner’s home, or other assets. ‘Most often the cost of insurance is far less expensive than the resulting law suit’ commented Stephen Monahan, workers’ compensation and safety director for the Department of Labor. ‘We want employers to know we will be investigating about the higher fines and penalties in hopes they will choose compliance. Our division also has expertise through ProjectWORKSAFE that can identify ways to enhance workplace safety and health’ commented Monahan. Source: Vermont Department of Labor 6.29.2010
Statewide—Usher in 2020 with other outdoor lovers at one of the many First Day Hikes offered Jan. 1 at Indiana’s state parks. First Day Hikes are a healthy way to start the new year and provide a chance to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and connect with friends.The guided hikes are organized by Indiana State Parks in cooperation with America’s State Parks. Hikes will take place in all 50 states. First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The program was launched to foster healthy lifestyles and promote year-round recreation at state parks.First Day events at Indiana State Park properties in southeastern Indiana are (all times are local):-Brookville Lake, Mounds State Recreation Area, 4 p.m., Meet at the Campground Shelter (across from Wildlife Wander Trail), 0.7 miles, easy, approximately 45 minutes. This is an interactive hike during which Indiana wildlife will be discussed. A warm fire, hot cocoa, and S’mores will follow. -Brown County State Park, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Meet at the Nature Center, 2 miles, 1.5 hours, bike it or hike it. Dress for the weather. This is a new hike, at your own pace, with plenty of space. Hikes will be set up through the time period listed. Interpretive stops will be offered along the way, including one for hot chocolate. -Clifty Falls State Park, 1 p.m., Meet at Poplar Grove Shelter for a 3-mile rugged hike to journey back through time. Hear how the park was formed, see two of the park’s waterfalls, and walk part of the old railroad path while discovering its unique story. This hike, which is for ages 8 and older, will take roughly 2 – 2 ½ hours — bring water and wear good hiking shoes. Cookies and water will be provided after the hike.-Falls of the Ohio State Park, 1 p.m., Meet at the Interpretive Center to hike the fossil beds. This 90-minute hike will go along the upper fossil beds and offer the chance to learn about Devonian sea life, and plants and animals that live along the river’s edge. Bring binoculars to look for winter birds. The Interpretive Center will open for a few minutes before and after the hike for access to restrooms and water fountains, but will otherwise be closed on Jan. 1. Inclement weather will cancel the program due to the hazardous nature of a slippery, uneven, rocky surface. A $2 pay-to-park fee applies, but the program is free.-Versailles State Park, noon, Meet at the Oak Grove parking lot by the Trail 2 kiosk for hot chocolate and cider. At 12:30 p.m., the 2.75-mile hike over moderate terrain will start. Wear hiking shoes and appropriate clothes for the weather.-Whitewater Memorial State Park, 1 p.m., Meet at the Poplar Grove Shelter, 2.5 miles/moderate, approximately 90 minutes. While you hike, join in a trivia game with your friends and family. A warm fire, hot cocoa, and s’mores will follow.If you don’t see the property nearest you listed, check calendar.dnr.IN.gov for updates.
Press Association The news is an unexpected development given United only landed in Bangkok on Thursday morning and went straight to their hotel for a short rest ahead of what turned out to be Rooney’s single training session. Sixteen hours later he is on his way to the airport to begin the marathon journey back to Manchester. If Rooney is ruled out for a month it would mean he could be struggling to be fit for the Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley on August 11. And given his obvious lack of match practice, it is difficult to see how he could be involved in the following week’s clash between England and Scotland, or start the Premier League opener at Swansea on August 17. The incident comes just a day after manager David Moyes revealed United staff had told him Rooney had returned for pre-season training in his best shape for years. The injury robs United of one of their most recognisable faces – with Robin van Persie not linking up with his team-mates until they reach Sydney – and the man who is more in demand for personal appearances than anyone else. Yet it is bound to trigger conspiracy theories, given it comes against the backdrop of uncertainty over his United future. Moyes repeated again on Wednesday that Rooney is not for sale and that the 27-year-old would not be going anywhere. However, there has still been no word from the player about his intentions, even though there has been plenty of opportunity to silence the rumour mill should he so wish. Rooney suffered the injury in training on Thursday and scans have revealed the full extent of the damage. “Following a scan this evening on a hamstring injury sustained in training, it has been decided Wayne Rooney should return home immediately for further assessment and rehabilitation,” the club said in a statement. Manchester United have confirmed striker Wayne Rooney will fly home from the club’s Far East tour after being ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury.