The state of healthcare at the national level is up in the air, but candidates to be the next Georgia governor have been making their views on healthcare for the state clearer in recent months.
Recently, Democratic State Rep. Stacey Evans claimed thousands of workers in Georgia are being misclassified as independent contractors. This means their employers may deny them benefits, including disability, healthcare and other vital worker benefits. Evans added that she supports the expansion of Medicaid and the proper classification of Georgia workers so that health insurance is available to hundreds of thousands more people.
Politifact.com has performed an analysis of Evans’ claims to determine whether it is true that Georgia workers are being denied benefits that could affect their health and wellbeing. This analysis is detailed below.
What Does ‘Misclassification’ Mean?
Some Georgia businesses avoid providing employee benefits by calling employees ‘independent contractors.’Even though this worker might be employed only by that one company, the firm may still say the person is a self-employed contractor.
By calling these workers by another name, they can avoid paying for unemployment insurance, and avoid paying payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. If the company provides health insurance for employees, this is another benefit that they can withhold from contractors.
The Georgia Department of Labor has weighed in on this issue, stating that whether a worker is an independent contractor depends upon the exact nature of the relationship between worker and employer.
How Many Georgians Are Really Misclassified?
The state Department of Labor reports that inspectors have determined that approximately 4,000 workers have been misclassified. That is the number that Evans has used in her media statements on the matter.
During its fact-check, Politifact requested more recent data from the state Department of Labor. The updated data showed there were 1,500 misclassified workers at 1,800 companies in 2015. In 2016, there were 3,000 workers at 2,400 companies that were misclassified.
The department also reported that there are 235,000 employers currently listed in its database. The 2,400 companies are a small fraction of that total, but there are still several thousand workers who are potentially misclassified. If they are being called independent contractors and are actually full-time employees, they could be denied vital worker protections, including medical, disability and workers’ compensation benefits.
Politifact Ruling – Mostly True
Evans claimed there are thousands of Georgia workers who have been wrongly called independent contractors and are being denied worker benefits. The Department of Labor, as noted above, has found there were between 1,500 and 4,000 cases of possible misclassification in the last three years. This is an average of 2,800 cases per year. That average number, Politifact states, is enough to rate Evans’ claim as ‘mostly true.’
If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor and are injured on the job in Georgia, you could be denied medical benefits and worker’s compensation for your injuries. In this situation, you need to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Have You Been Wrongly Denied Benefits? Contact The Mann Law Firm
Misclassification of workers is a severe problem for the Georgia workforce. These workers may be denied the benefits they deserve. Are you a worker in Georgia who believes you have been wrongly denied employee benefits, including health insurance, workers’ compensation, overtime and disability, because you are called an independent contractor? The Mann Law Firm is experienced in obtaining the benefits that Georgia workers deserve from their employers. Please contact our Middle Georgia offices today at 478-742-3381. Or, you can use our online form to set up a free consultation.