Employer Must Pay Workers’ Compensation for Concurrent Job: Court

By Sheena Harrison

Jan. 20, 2012

A public works department must pay workers’ compensation benefits based on a worker’s departmental job, plus another job he held on the side, according to a New York appellate court.

William Thomas worked as a light equipment operator for the Warren County Department of Public Works when he was injured in 2009. Court records show that Thomas also was employed by a janitorial service at that time.

Under New York workers’ comp law, the department was required to pay benefits to Thomas based on his average weekly wages from “all concurrent employments.”

A 2007 amendment to the state comp law barred employers from being reimbursed by a Special Disability Fund for excess benefits paid on behalf of a concurrent employer, records show. The public works department argued, in part, that it should not be required to pay benefits for Thomas’ outside employment because it could not be reimbursed.

The appellate court disagreed with the department in its unanimous ruling Jan. 19.

“To conclude otherwise would be to subvert the purpose of (the) Workers’ Compensation Law … , and ignore the plain language of the 2007 amendment and the Legislature’s intent to close the Fund,” the decision reads.

Sheena Harrison writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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Sheena Harrison writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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