Business Council announces coalition of leading statewide organizations calling for Workers’ Compensation Reform
Coalition members represent tens of thousands of statewide employers, who together employ millions of New Yorkers

Albany, N.Y. – The Business Council of New York State, Inc. today joined with fifty-eight other statewide advocacy groups in calling for immediate and substantial reforms to the state’s excessively expensive workers’ compensation system.

“The current system is too expensive for private and public employers alike,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Worker’s compensation was created to help injured workers by replacing lost wages and providing needed medical care, but it isn’t working. Major payments are being made in ways never intended by statute. Our Scheduled Loss of Use (SLU) awards pay large sums for minor injuries that lead to little or no missed time from work. We have replaced fairness with chance and moved away from the fundamental goal of workers’ compensation replacement for lost wages. It’s time for a change.”

Current figures show employers across New York are paying nearly $10 billion per year in workers’ compensation costs. Of that amount, roughly $1.2 billion goes directly to SLU payments, over $960 million of which went to pay individuals who did not miss any significant time from work.

In a recent Siena Research Institute survey, 90 percent of upstate business leaders said they supported reducing the costs associated with workers’ compensation insurance. But workers’ compensation costs are impacting the public sector as well.

“We often hear lawmakers talk about mandate relief, yet too little is being done to cut costs for local municipalities,” said Briccetti. “The reforms we’re calling for would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to the state and local governments. That money could then be used to invest in schools, infrastructure and other spending priorities.”

Over the past few weeks a bipartisan group of Senators and Assembly members have introduced legislation that reform key aspects of the workers’ compensation system.

“The workers’ compensation system was designed to replace lost wages, provide necessary medical care, and promote return to work,” Briccetti added. “Our proposed reforms maintain those pillars of the compensation system, while providing significant cost relief for employers.”

The workers' comp reform bills are:

Over the next days and weeks the Workers’ Compensation Reform coalition, its employer members and everyday New Yorkers will be interacting with their legislative officials through an aggressive e-advocacy campaign and on social media via the hashtags #CompCrisis and #SaveJobsNow.

“We urge the Governor and both houses of the legislature to include our commonsense proposals in the FY 2017-18 state Budget, which will result in a system that is fair and equitable for all,” added Briccetti.

Members of the media and the general public are encouraged to follow the coalition’s efforts online as we work to make these overdue and necessary changes a reality.

Contact your lawmaker