June 4, 2003
Council strongly supports critical new workers-comp reform bill
The Business Council is strongly supporting a new reform bill that would help rein in New York's above-average workers' compensation costs by enacting four key reforms.
The bill (S.5320-Libous) is in part a response to three other workers' compensation bills that propose significant benefits increases without any essential cost-cutting reforms, said Kerry Kirwan, The Council's legislative analyst specializing in workers' comp.
The bill, which is expected to be introduced in the Assembly within a week, would:
injured or sick workers with benefits for nearly 10 years
in cases in which benefits are not prescribed by statutory
schedules. The goal is to give workers both ample benefits
and sufficient time to seek retraining to return to work.
Under New York's current system, benefits in such cases never expire. These cases account for some 70 percent of New York's total New York State workers' compensation costs, which remain an estimated 30 percent above the national average, Kirwan said.
for Social Security and pension offsets-that is, reductions
in workers' compensation benefits applied when workers receive
Social Security and/or pension benefits. The goal is to
ensure that workers who retire receive a full and appropriate
an injured worker receive both workers' comp benefits and
his full salary if he returns to work before his "scheduled"
time. An injured worker is given a schedule of weeks that
he will remain out of work. Under this bill, if the worker
returns to work early, he or she could collect wages and
half of the remaining comp benefits.
- Implement objective medical guidelines to establish fair, objective and consistent evaluation of work injuries.