Massachusetts Attorney General Wants Tougher Workers’ Comp Penalties

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley wants more severe criminal penalties for businesses that go without workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

A bill filed earlier this month by Coakley’s office would make failure to carry worker’s compensation coverage equal to insurance fraud, in terms of punishment.

The lack of workers’ compensation insurance would be a felony in Massachusetts— rather than a misdemeanor, as it is currently — under the new bill, which is sponsored by Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) and Majority Whip Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy).

Coakley’s office says the laws are “inconsistent” and the legislation would remedy that inconsistency and allow her office to prosecute businesses who fail to provide coverage for their employees.

It would also increase penalties. Failure to carry the coverage would mean up to five years in prison or a fine up to $10,000 — the same penalties as workers’ compensation fraud in Massachusetts.