The Tri-City Herald recently posted a story detailing Washington State’s Department of Labor and Industry’s efforts and intent to be more “user friendly,” particularly for employers. The Department of Labor and Industry is a state agency that handles everything thing from employee complaints over safety to workers’ compensation claims to licensing. The department assists and interacts with employees and employers on these matters. They insure that employers are following the laws and regulations. They assist employees with information on filing claims, finding medical providers if necessary for workers’ compensation and providing easy to understand basics of employee rights. There are an infinite number of concerns and issues that the Department of Labor & Industry handles every day.
According to the article, the department intends to include more forms online, provide better technical support, and provide more flexible deadlines for workers’ compensation premiums. The department consulted with local industries and businesses to determine what employers would like to see changed or improved. According to the consulted employers, the online forms will help businesses reduce the amount of mail, misplaced documents, and missed deadlines. The online forms also allow items to be flagged, deadlines to be highlighted, and can save employers time by allowing them to save documents and submit them electronically at their convenience. The department has added additional services like checklists for identifying independent contractors and mobile access to safety requirement standards. The department’s efforts will ideally make compliance and encourage participation by all parties involved.
Employers have the responsibility of complying with the many city, state, and federal regulations. Sometimes compliance with each and every rule in a timely fashion can be challenging, particularly when it is difficult to navigate the various systems in place and details get lost in mountains of paperwork. The vast majorities of employers strive for compliance, but are sometimes victims of the system. The Department of Labor and Industry’s efforts to streamline their online forms and technical support should alleviate some of the confusion and frustration with compliance.
There are occasions when employers, whether intentionally or unintentionally, fail to comply with certain laws like minimum wage, break times and lunches, or overtime. There are also times when they fail to file workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes it is up to the employee to fights for his or her rights in the workplace. For instance, employee need to know all the necessary steps that need to be taken to fulfill the workers’ compensation requirements. The department’s website provides simple explanations on employee rights, as well as links to the actual laws and regulations. Employees can also find necessary forms for workers’ compensation and for filing workplace safety complaints. The department is a vital resource for both employers and employees.
If you have questions about employment laws, compliance, or wage concerns, contact an employment attorney.