Sunday, May 22, 2011

Statement from Speaker of the House Frank Chopp on the workers’ compensation reform

“Decisions about the workers’ compensation system should always focus on the injured workers of our state. Workers’ compensation is a vital safety net for people who get hurt at work. We refuse to put any of them in a position where they can be taken advantage of. This proposal is a fair deal for injured workers – in fact, for all workers.

“It’s fair for every worker in this state who pays into the workers’ comp system.

“The creation of the Rainy Day Fund is a very significant reform to ensure the integrity of the system.

“It’s fair to help the vast majority of workers who suffer workplace injuries get back to work as soon as possible by providing them the highest quality medical care and vocational rehabilitation, and by offering their employers assistance for giving them transitional or light-duty work.

“It’s fair to keep workers from getting hurt in the first place by offering grants for injury prevention programs and punishing employers who leave workplace hazards uncorrected.

“And it’s a fair deal for the 73% of injured workers over age 55 who cannot go back to work to be offered more options while keeping important safeguards in place. The structured disability settlements in this proposal are a much better alternative for these workers than lump sum compromise and release. It allows them some flexibility in the amount and timing of their payments while providing certainty that they will not be pressured or intimidated into accepting a one-time check and then left on their own for the rest of their lives.

“This was not a “go-home” issue for our caucus. But we were absolutely never going to go home with any deal that was harmful to those the workers’ comp system was created to protect. I’m proud of the House Democratic Caucus who held firm for injured workers and protected the integrity of our state’s workers’ comp system.”

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.