Changes In Workers’ Comp Program To Benefit Injured Workers
It may not be something you think about a lot, but if you work outside of the home, you could be injured while performing your work duties. Heck, you could even be injured if you work from home. So have you ever thought about what would happen if you got injured at work and couldn’t work for several weeks, months, or even years?
Each state has workers’ compensation programs in place to provide some sort of wage replacement. However, injured workers don’t receive their full paycheck, so is it enough? Most likely, no, which is why New York is hoping to change all that with proposed changes.
The Justice for Injured Workers Act focuses on what exactly is considered “temporary total disability” as well as the benefits workers collect while injured. The bill has not yet become law, although the Assembly and State Senate have passed it.
Based on the language of the bill, temporary total disability is defined as an injured employee’s ability to perform the duties they were required to perform before they became injured. If passed, the law would allow partially disabled workers to collect full benefits, which typically amounts to two-thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage. The worker would continue to receive these benefits while injured, unless their employer allows them to perform light duty work.
Under the current law, those workers receive a smaller percentage of their average weekly wage, depending on the severity of their injury. State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who created the bill, says his goal is to make life easier and fairer for workers in New York. This means allowing injured employees the opportunity to perform modified work so that sustaining an injury doesn’t necessarily have to result in financial difficulties. The worker has time to heal.
Those who are in favor of the bill say the changes would help prevent financial hardship and make it so injured employees would not have to seek a job with a different company while on temporary disability. Employees will be happier and more productive in the long run. However, there are many opponents of the bill, including business groups. The law requires that employees provide alternative work for injured employees, which is not always possible for businesses with small staff. Plus, the cost of the increased workers’ compensation benefit will likely be a burden to small businesses.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
An accident in the workplace can happen at any time. If it does happen to you, you want to ensure you have enough money to pay your bills if you cannot work.
The changes in New York’s workers’ compensation laws can help. Make sure you get what you are entitled to receive. A White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can assess your situation and guide you through the process. Schedule a free initial consultation with our office by calling (914) 228-1770 or filling out the online form.