An employer in Des Moines can get in trouble if it stops giving an employee his/her workman‘s compensation checks. As long as the individual is entitled to receive these benefits, the employer must provide them.
Employer’s Responsibility to Provide Workman’s Compensation
Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory for most employers in Iowa. They are required to pay the premiums for this insurance and provide benefits to workers if during the scope of employment they are injured or develop an occupational illness.
The employer is obligated to initiate payment of weekly compensation benefits within 11 days from the date of disability. They are then to continue until there is a legal justification for terminating payments.
One common reason payments may stop is if the employee’s injury has healed and he/she has returned to work. Of course, this would have to be based on a doctor medically releasing the employee – not the employer making the decision. P
ayments could also stop if a doctor has determined the employee unlikely to improve further from the injury (in which case other benefits like permanent disability may commence), or is medically capable of returning to either the same work or something similar.
Weekly benefits cannot be withheld from the employee without providing a 30-day written notice indicating the reasons for stopping benefits and the employee’s to file a dispute with the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
Sanctions for Noncompliance with Workers’ Compensation Laws
The employer could be subject to paying the employee interest if weekly benefits are delayed. Further, a failure to comply with workman’s’ comp laws could lead to sanctions.
Among other possibilities, an award of up to 50 percent of additional benefits could be ordered when there was a denial or delay of weekly benefits. So while an employer can get into trouble, it’s important that injured workers take steps to ensure the employer pays the benefits owed to the employee.
Steps to Take When an Employer Stops Paying Workers’ Compensation
A complaint should be filed with the DWC. It will look into the matter and determine if there was a violation of state laws. But it would also be a good idea to consult with an attorney.
When it comes to workers’ comp, there are complicated laws that could impact a case, and it becomes even more challenging when there are disputes concerning eligibility or an employee has suffered a serious injury.
It’s understandable that an employee might have concerns about retaliation for reporting employer’s noncompliance. But exercising one’s right to compensation doesn’t give license for an employer to fire, demote, layoff, threaten, or harass the employee. In fact, they could face even bigger problems if this happens.
Don’t delay seeking legal counsel. An attorney will explain not only an employer’s legal responsibilities but your rights as well. Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines today to set up an appointment – (888) 435-9886 or fill out our contact form.