The Business Council opposes this legislation as currently drafted, as it would impose broad, ambiguous obligations on most employers in the state.
The bill would amend the Labor Law to require that employers provide injured employees with "all information necessary to enable such employee to properly file a claim for workers' compensation benefits."
This legislation raises several concerns:
- this proposal imposes an obligation for the employer to provide "injured employees" with information regarding workers' compensation claims. However, an employer could only respond to this mandate if it is aware of the injury. The Workers' Compensation Law requires an employee provide such notice within 30 days of an injury or, in the case of occupational disease, within two years after disablement, or within two years after the claimant knew or should have known that the disease was work-related, whichever is later. Could this legislation result in a tolling of existing notification requirements based on the failure for an employer to provide an employee with information regarding an injury of which the employer had no knowledge? At most, this legislation should require an employer to provide an employee with information regarding workers' compensation claims procedures after they received timely notice of an injury as required in the Workers' Compensation Law.
- to initiate a claim, an employee must notify its employer of the injury in writing and, if the injury results in lost time at work, file a C-3 form with the Workers' Compensation Board. Other than providing an injured employee with a C-3, it is unclear what other information the employer would be required provide in order to meet this mandate to provide "all information necessary" to file a claim. The C-3 requires information on the claimant, the employer, the injury, any medical care received related to the injury. Would the employer be obligated to develop or provide information this information to the claimant? At most, this legislation should require employers to provide an employee with a copy of the C-3 and other basic information regarding the claims process developed and provided by the Workers' Compensation Board once they have been notified of an injury. This approach would clearly define this new notification requirement, allow the WCB to define the appropriate information to be provided, and allow the employer a clear means to meet this information mandate.
Without these clarifications, this legislation would impose uncertain new obligations on employers, and would likely fail to meet its stated objective of "ensure that every worker who suffers an injury on the job is fully informed." We urge the Senate to amend this legislation before considering it on the floor.