Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie, who is campaigning to oversee a sprawling 43,000-employee bureaucracy, appears not to have gotten workers’ compensation insurance for his gubernatorial campaign.
That means the Friends of Bob Massie committee could be violating state law, which requires such employers to have a workers’ compensation policy in place.
In response to questions from The Boston Globe, Charlie Pearce, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, said: “Our records indicate that the Friends of Bob Massie Committee does not currently appear to have a workers’ compensation policy in place. This matter has been referred to the Department of Industrial Accidents Investigative Unit for further inquiry.”
After this story posted online Monday, Massie said his campaign was “working to address insurance requirements for our staff to comply with state requirements.”
Later in the day, a Massie spokesman said the campaign had “located an insurance company that will provide the workers’ comp and it will be in place by the end of the week.”
The Department of Industrial Accidents averages about 6,800 workers’ comp investigations every month that typically result in about 170 stop work orders, according to state data. The state usually prioritizes investigations into high-risk industries, such as construction.
If a stop work order is issued, the employer is required to either stop work immediately and pay a $100 per day fine until they obtain the appropriate workers’ compensation insurance, or they can appeal the order and continue working and pay $250 per day until the appeal is settled, officials said.
“All employers in Massachusetts must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees,” according to the state.
Employees in Massachusetts who are hurt during the course of employment, or who suffer from work-related mental disabilities, and occupational diseases, are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the state says.
The campaign of Massie’s Democratic primary opponent, Jay Gonzalez, has workers’ comp insurance, according to state records. So does the re-election campaign of Governor Charlie Baker. Scott Lively, Baker’s GOP primary opponent, said his campaign does not have any employees. A sole proprietor is not required to carry workers’ comp insurance, so long as they work alone.
Massie e-mailed a statement saying that, over the last seven months, his campaign has taken steps to transition from a “largely all-volunteer campaign staff to our current state of operations.” (A spokesman said the campaign currently has 14 staff in total.)
Massie said a payroll processor was brought on in April, that his staff had doubled in recent weeks, and that the campaign is “working to address insurance requirements for our staff to comply with state requirements.”
He said the campaign “had assumed that our payroll processor would set up all the necessary deductions and payments from our payroll. We did not know that our payroll processor had only recently discontinued offering this coverage for political campaigns.”
Massie, an environmentalist and entrepreneur, launched his campaign for governor in April of last year.
The primary is Sept. 4.
Joshua Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.