Workers’ compensation laws and regulations have been an integral part of the American society for many years. They provide security and peace of mind, especially for workers in inherently dangerous environments, such as coal miners and factory workers. According to Inthesetimes.com, the state of Illinois could be facing some drastic changes to the policies currently in place, if Gov. Bruce Rauner is successful in the changes he’s pushing for.
One of the changes Rauner would like to see made is narrowing the scope of workers’ compensation coverage for employers by not including the “work histories” of employees. Traditionally, employers have assumed responsibility for the physical problems employees developed over years of toiling in manual and hard labor. Rauner wants to change this to require that a specific workplace injury account for at least 50% of a workers’ compensation claim.
In other words, it’s Rauner’s belief that this type of coverage is intended only for traumatic injuries, not those that come as the result of long-term, repetitive acts related to work, but that are also likely enhanced through day-to-day living. He believes this is the equivalent to asking employers to “pick up the tab” on non-workplace injuries.
While this may be true in some instances, opponents of his proposed changes argue that what he’s really trying to do is reshape and overhaul the workers’ compensation standards that have been on the books for years. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, workers’ compensation pays 100% of medical costs for injured workers from the day of injury, and cash benefits for lost work time after a three- to seven-day waiting period.
“What the governor is proposing is to take a lot of cases that have been compensable for the last 50 years and to throw them out,” said John Burton, a veteran workers’ compensation industry expert.
Despite all the rhetoric, both sides appear to have good intentions, just different ways of viewing the world. Rauner argues that changing the laws will help promote business and the economy in general. He claims the current policies and associated high costs are helping to drive businesses out of Illinois. Proponents on the other side say that the type of changes Rauner is pushing for would be a big step back for the working person.
Whose side are you on? Sound off in the comments section below.