Two Republican state senators have written Attorney General Drew Edmondson seeking an official opinion regarding the elimination of Certificates of Non-Coverage (CNC) by the recently passed workers’ compensation reform bill – a provision that is placing an undue burden on thousands of small businesses.
“We are seeking an official opinion from the Attorney General to determine whether CNCs that have an expiration date after July 1, 2005, can continue to serve to show that an independent contractor is not required to carry workers' compensation insurance until such time as the certificate reaches its date of expiration,” stated Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Midwest City.
“The unintended consequence of repealing CNCs is that thousands of Oklahomans who lawfully have such certificates may now be required to spend hundreds of dollars in the next two weeks in order to comply with the law – even though they may currently have a certificate that does not expire for up to two years,” said Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid.
Section 34 of SB-1X eliminates Certificates of Non-Coverage effective July 1. A CNC is a certificate issued by the state Department of Labor to certify independent contractors who are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The certificates are valid for up to two years for a fee of $20.
With the elimination of CNCs, independent contractors may now be required by general contractors who hire them to obtain a “minimum premium” workers’ comp policy at a cost of between $350 and $1000 per year.
Aldridge and Anderson also said the Legislature should resume its special session on workers’ compensation reform as soon as possible to postpone or repeal the elimination of CNCs that occurred in SB-1X, giving the Legislature more time to study the issue.