NFL Players Criticize Bill That Would Limit Their Workers’ Comp Filings
On Monday, the National Football League Players Association held a press conference in Sacramento to criticize a bill (AB 1309) that would limit the ability of out-of-state players to file for workers' compensation in California, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Insurance Committee on April 24.
Officials for several professional sports leagues argue that injured players from out-of-state teams are inappropriately benefiting from California's workers' compensation system, which increases team costs and the cost of purchasing workers' compensation for all employers in the state.
The league officials say that certain players receive workers' compensation payments from California even though they played very few games in the state.
Details of Bill
The bill, by Assembly member Henry Perea (D-Fresno), would allow professional athletes to file a workers' compensation claim in California for "cumulative trauma" only if they retired from a team based in the state.
In a statement, Perea said, "I do not believe that the Legislature ever intended to allow professional athletes working and retiring from out-of-state teams to be able to file workers' compensation claims in California when they weren't specifically injured here."
Jason Kinney -- a California Strategies consultant who works for the NFL -- said, "Nobody wants to limit the ability of players who are legitimately injured to file." He adds, "But there needs to be clear standards. Because what's going on here is that every player in the country is filing claims in California."
Players argue that they are entitled to file for workers' compensation in California regardless of where their team is based because they pay income taxes for each game they play in the state.
Mel Owens -- a former linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams who now is a workers' compensation attorney -- said, "Once you pay taxes in California, you're on equal footing, just like everybody else here."Although workers' compensation payments come from funds that employers pay into a statewide insurance system, players say that they also pay into the system by accepting the workers' compensation benefit as part of their salary package (Rosenhall, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/15). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.