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Off The Record – Workers’ Comp – A New Child Labor Crisis

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Bill Turley with Turley Redmond and Rosasco. So, this morning I was listening to a very interesting podcast on the New York Times called The Daily, and today’s topic was “A New Child Labor Crisis in America.” And what they focused on was young migrant children from Central America and South America who had come into the country and they’re being employed in some very hazardous industries, for example, the meat packing industry and the construction industry. So, you have basically children working in very, very dangerous areas of employment, and I was thinking about how in New York state there are some safeguards against this type of behavior.

So, New York state, between the labor law and the workers’ compensation law, has some very specific restrictions on the type of work minor workers are permitted to do, and a lot of it has to do with the using dangerous machinery, for example like a meat grinder, okay? Or it also has to do with maybe working in an area that involves a lot of dust or fumes, and it also deals with the number of hours that a minor is allowed to work. So, under the New York state workers’ compensation law, if a minor is injured during the course of illegal employment, using dangerous machinery, or working more hours than they are permitted to under the law, the employer if found in violation, could be responsible to pay what the insurance company would pay in a workers’ compensation claim, right? When a worker is injured, they’re entitled to lost wage benefits, and if there’s any kind of permanent damage, they may be entitled to an additional award for that, okay? If a minor is injured during the course of illegal employment, the employer, if they’re found in violation, is going to be responsible for what the insurance company would have to pay out in lost wage benefits, okay? So basically the employer has to duplicate whatever the insurance company pays out in benefits for lost wages. God, man, I’m really getting off the track here ’cause it’s a little complicated, so let me go back to that.

So, if a minor is injured during the course of illegal employment and the employer’s found in violation, okay, the employer’s gonna be responsible to pay whatever the insurance company is required to pay in lost wage benefits, and if there’s an additional benefit for permanent disability, the employer would be responsible for that as well. And it’s not something that insurance covers. This is something that comes right directly out of the employer’s pocket. It’s basically double compensation, and, you know, half of which is the employer’s responsibility.

So, for example, if you have a minor who’s working in a butcher shop, you know, a 15-year-old kid working in a butcher shop who normally does deliveries, which he’s permitted to do, but they also have him working behind the counter and he’s operating a meat grinder, and he gets injured using the meat grinder, that’s illegal employment, okay? And if the minor worker is injured doing that, the insurance company, of course, their workers’ compensation carrier is gonna pay lost wage benefits, they’re gonna cover his medical bills, and if there’s any kind of permanent disability as a result of the injury, the insurance company will be responsible for that as well. But the employer has to match that. Not the medical benefits, but the lost wage benefits and the award for permanent disability. And it’s, you know, it’s a way of discouraging this type of behavior and penalizing this type of behavior, alright? So, if you have any questions about illegal employment or any topics involving workers’ compensation, give us a call at 631-582-3700 or you can contact us on the website This is Bill Turley, and thank you for listening today.

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