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February 13, 2004

Council: New comp bill raises benefits without easing employers' burden

A new union-backed workers’ compensation bill would raise compensation benefits without enacting necessary reforms, according to Elliott Shaw, The Business Council’s director of government affairs.

“This bill not only raises employers’ cost by hiking benefits, it also encourages more litigation by employees and allows the unions to choose an employer’s workers’ comp carrier,” Shaw said.

The bill, (S.6135/A. 9736), is sponsored by state Senator Guy Velella (R-Westchester) and Assemblywoman Susan John (D-Monroe County).

The bill would raise the level of workers’ comp benefits to $625, 2/3 of the state average weekly wage, by December, 2006.

The Business Council's initial estimate is that this change, alone, could raise employers' rates by 25 percent or more.

The bill would also:

“Businesses in New York need real compensation reform,” Shaw said. “Benefit increases must be balanced by measures that make the state friendlier to both businesses and employees. This bill only succeeds in creating a more hostile environment.”

The Business Council is strongly supporting a bill (S.5320-Libous, A.8862-Schimminger) that would: