February 28, 2008
Council survey seeks to determine savings of 2007 comp reforms
ALBANY— A new Business Council survey will help determine how much New York employers have saved on their workers' compensation premiums after last year's historic reforms to the program.
The one-page survey, which has been sent to all Business Council members and is open to non members as well, asks respondents whether or not their business saw savings from the reforms and how much they saved.
“We're hoping that responses help us gauge the effectiveness of the reforms to date,” said Business Council President and CEO Kenneth Adams. “It will also help us to identify any problem areas with the reforms and single out areas where more action is needed.”
The Business Council was instrumental in shaping the 2007 reforms. Governor Eliot Spitzer signed the package of reforms into law last March after weeks of negotiations between lawmakers, labor leaders and The Business Council.
- Limited the number of years during which benefits are available in permanent partial disability cases, which have historically accounted for a high percentage of costs in New York's comp system. State law had allowed lifetime payment of cash benefits in all such cases; the agreement capped benefits at eight years or less for more than 90 percent of cases.
- Increased the maximum weekly benefit for injured workers from $400 to $600 over three years. In the fourth year, the maximum weekly benefit will become two-thirds of the average weekly wage in New York, with the maximum thereafter adjusted annually beginning in the fifth year.
- Created new programs designed to help injured workers get workers prompt medical treatment and return to gainful employment.
- Created strong new anti-fraud measures.
- Eliminated the Second Injury Fund, which has been blamed for significant recent increases in surcharges that are added to all employers' workers' compensation bills.