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Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe PLLC. Motto
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Paid Under The Table? What You Should Know About “Under The Table” Work Status And Mississippi Workers’ Compensation


Under the table work is not rare in the United States. Some employers in many industries, including in restaurant and hospitality, construction, agriculture, logging, manufacturing, and many more may opt – usually not lawfully – to pay their workers not according to state or federal tax laws and with sophisticated payroll systems, but with cash or checks and no tax reporting whatsoever. It is a scary thing, too, that many jobs that do pay under the table wages are jobs involving hard manual labor, dangerous working conditions, and potentially hazardous workplaces. By now, most people in Mississippi and the United States are aware that if they are injured on the job, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help get them back on their feet while they heal from a workplace injury. However, is a worker who is not officially on any payroll and who, for all purposes, is an “under the table” worker entitled to Mississippi workers’ compensation benefits? This is an important question that under-the-table workers may face when it comes to a serious workplace injury.

Defining “Under the Table” Work

At the outset, it makes sense to discuss what “under the table” work really means. Working “under the table”, first and foremost, is not legal. When a person works under the table, they are essentially performing duties and getting paid by a person or entity, but the work is not being reported to state and federal agencies, and, accordingly, there is no tax reporting or oversight as to compliance with state and federal wage and hour and labor laws. A person who is working under the table may receive a personal check from an employer or perhaps even cash. Under the table work may seem attractive to some employees because they do not pay state or federal income taxes on their income. However, this is short-sighted – being an under the table employee is not only illegal, but it also can implicate important employment benefits, such as Social Security Disability and state workers’ compensation. However, employers may choose to illegally pay workers under the table to avoid taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, and to skirt wage and hour and labor laws, such as overtime, hours of work and minimum wage mandates.

“Under the Table” Work and Impacts on Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Under Mississippi workers’ compensation laws, first and foremost, a worker must be an “employee” in order to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. When a person is not legally reported as being an “employee”, but rather works under the table, they are deemed to not have “employee” status. The fact that an under the table worker is not technically an “employee” can make eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits an uphill battle, as this is a threshold requirement. Of course, if a worker has questions about their employment status or entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits, they should speak with an experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer.

If you have been injured on the job and are seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Mississippi, reach out to the skilled and experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe. The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford Baskin & Priebe offer a free and confidential consultation to learn about your case and to see if they can help. Contact Lunsford Baskin & Priebe today.

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