AN ACT TO AMEND THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT CONCERNING THE STATUS OF TRUCK DRIVERS AS EMPLOYEES OR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS.
Amends GS 97-19.1, pertaining to the status of drivers of trucks, tractors, and truck tractors as employees or independent contractors.
Modifies subsection (a), providing that an individual in the interstate or intrastate carrier industry who operates a truck, tractor, or tractor trailer for a motor carrier as defined by GS 20-4.01(21b) (currently, those licensed by a governmental motor vehicle agency) can be an employee or an independent contractor under Article 1 of GS Chapter 97 (Workers' Compensation Act) dependent upon the application of the common law test for determining employment status. Further provides that any principal contractor, intermediate contractor, or subcontractor, who contracts with an individual in the interstate or intrastate carrier industry who operates a truck, tractor, or truck trailer for a motor carrier as defined by GS 20-4.01(21b) (currently, licensed by the US Department of Transportation), and who has not secured the payment of compensation in the manner provided for employers set forth in GS 97-93 for themselves personally or their employees and subcontractors, is liable as an employer under the Workers' Compensation Act for the payment of compensation and other benefits on account of the injury or death of the independent contractor and their employees or subcontractors due to an accident arising out of and in the course of the performance of the work covered by the contract.
Amends subsection (b), providing that a principal contractor, intermediate contractor, or subcontractor is not liable as an employer under the Workers' Compensation Act as described if the principal contractor, intermediate contractor, or subcontractor (1) contracts with an independent contractor who owns or leases the vehicle providing service (currently, who is an individual licensed by the US DOT), (2) the independent contractor personally operates or is responsible for hiring or engaging and paying personnel who operate the vehicle (currently, personally is operating the vehicle solely pursuant to the US DOT license), and (3) the independent contractor is covered under an occupational accident policy issued either to the independent contractor or motor carrier (currently not included).
Deletes and replaces the existing provisions of subsection (c). Permits a motor carrier and an independent contractor meeting the criteria contained in subsection (b) to, if mutually agreed to by the independent contractor and motor carrier in writing, provide that the independent contractor and any of the independent contractor's employees be covered by the motor carriers' workers' compensation insurance policy or self‑insurance and that the independent contractor and any of the independent contractor's employees would be deemed employees of the motor carrier for purposes of workers' compensation only. Permits the motor carrier to charge the independent contractor for any agreed upon premiums or, if self‑insured, for any equitable assessment for such coverage. Establishes that the agreement does not affect the independent contractor status of the independent contractor for any purpose other than for workers' compensation.
Adds new subsection (d) to define the term occupational accident insurance for purposes of the statute. Defines the term to mean the type of insurance policy obtained by independent contractor owner operators in the trucking industry that includes the following benefit categories: (1) temporary total disability type wage replacement benefit, (2) permanent disability or impairment benefit, (3) a medical expense payment benefit, and (4) a death benefit. Provides that the occupational accident insurance policy can be issued directly to the independent contractor owner operator or issued as a master policy for which the motor carrier can charge the independent contractor owner operator an equitable sum for the coverage.
Adds new subsection (e) to require any occupational accident policy or workers' compensation policy be purchased from an insurance company having an AM Best A rating to satisfy the statute's requirements.
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