LOCAL

LWC adds online tool for employers, workers

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Workforce Commission has added to the agency web site an online tool that helps employers and workers recognize and avoid employee misclassification.

The tool is a 21-question assessment that takes about five minutes and gives employers and workers instant feedback on whether a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. The distinction is crucial because workers classified as employees may be eligible for benefits if they’re laid off or hurt on the job.

Misclassification is the illegal practice of classifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying unemployment insurance taxes and workers’ compensation premiums. Misclassification can be disastrous for workers who don’t realize they’re ineligible for unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits.

A new Louisiana law took effect July 1 that expanded the definition of an employee. Act 786 of the 2012 Louisiana Legislature also set stiffer penalties for misclassification, regardless of whether it’s done intentionally or not.