What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

November 3, 2005

Governor Pataki proposes cost-saving workers' compensation reform

Governor Pataki today proposed comprehensive workers' compensation reform that lowers costs for businesses while increasing benefits for injured workers.

“We welcome this new initiative by Governor Pataki to craft a comprehensive workers' compensation package which recognizes the many inequities in the current comp system," said Daniel B. Walsh, president of The Business Council of New York State. "Taken as a whole, this initiative will help employers of all sizes and types, particularly those in New York's manufacturing community. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature in a good faith effort to bring the comp system more in line with that of our competitor states.”

A release from the Governor's office said the plan would decrease business costs by 15 percent and increase benefits for injured workers by 25 percent.

“We know that lowering the cost of doing business is a proven way to create new jobs,” Governor Pataki said. “Workers’ Compensation is one of the biggest costs for businesses and if left unchecked can be an impediment to creating new jobs.”

"I urge the Legislature to work with me to enact these important reforms so that we can help New York businesses better compete, protect tens of thousands of jobs across the State and ensure benefits for injured workers,” the Governor said.

The proposal would reduce the Second Injury Fund assessment, a move The Business Council had urged lawmakers to take. The plan would reduce employers costs by more than $190 million by adjusting the calculation used to determine the assessments from 150 percent of the previous year's disbursements to 115 percent.

The proposal would create a system of tiered benefit levels for injuries that are not scheduled, authorize comprehensive fee schedules for medical goods and pharmaceuticals and would "better" coordinate anti-fraud efforts, the release said.

The proposal would also reduce frivolous claims against the Second Injury Fund and expand the Alternate Dispute Resolution program to include the unionized manufacturing sector.

"It would also increase benefit levels for workers injured on and off the job, increasing the maximum weekly indemnity benefits paid to injured workers by 25 percent from $400 to $500 per week," the release said.

The maximum disability benefit awarded to workers injured off the job would increase 100 percent, from $170 to $340, the release said.

The proposal would also:

The Governor's office said the proposal would establish a pilot program to encourage the "voluntary delivery of compensation and medical benefits to injured workers without intervention by the Board, but subject to the Board's supervision."

More details on the Governor's proposal area available at www.state.ny.us/governor/press/05/1103051.htm.