California Measure Seeks Boost to Workers’ Comp Benefits for the Disabled
On Tuesday, the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee was scheduled to consider a bill (SB 1717) that would increase benefits for workers permanently disabled in on-the-job accidents, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The bill, by Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland), seeks to address the state's permanent disability compensation. Studies cited by workers' compensation advocates indicate that California has the fourth-lowest payments in the country.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in 2004 signed legislation that overhauled the workers' compensation system. The changes are credited with workers' compensation insurance rates from $6.47 per $100 in payroll in 2003 to less than $3 per $100 in payroll in 2007.
Injured workers maintain that their benefits declined between 50% and 70% once the changes took effect, the Bee reports.
Jerry Azevedo -- a spokesperson for the Workers' Compensation Action Network, a coalition of state employers and insurers -- said many businesses will oppose the bill.
Schwarzenegger's office said the governor has not taken a position on the bill, although he has previously opposed previous efforts by Perata to revisit the workers' compensation reforms (Glover, Sacramento Bee, 4/22).