The Needs of Injured Workers Must Come Before the Pursuit of Greater Profit

The Needs of Injured Workers Must Come Before the Pursuit of Greater Profit The NYS AFL-CIO is opposed to changes to the workers' compensation system that are included in the Executive Budget proposal. Additional proposals coming from the business community would alter the system to such an extent that many injured workers could never expect to maintain a decent standard of living. It is important to remember that the workers' compensation system is in place to protect businesses from lawsuits when an employee is injured. In return, the system is supposed to ensure those workers have prompt access to adequate wage replacement benefits and high-quality medical care. One idea being touted by business would place an arbitrary cap on how long a worker can take to recuperate and reach maximum medical improvement, thus reducing benefits available to injured workers who are permanently partially disabled (PPD). The duration that PPD benefits can be collected is already capped. This new plan would not only take away decisions from a qualified doctor, it would also strip away wage replacement benefits for injured workers. While this is not currently included in the budget, it is critical that all parties reject this irresponsible proposal outright. Other ideas in the Executive Budget proposal would change how benefits are calculated at the expense of the injured workers and yet others would change how insurers must set aside funds in trust to make sure injured workers are paid. Combined, all of these changes would jeopardize the ability of the system to provide adequate benefits for injured workers. The NYS AFL-CIO stands ready to include ideas on how to make the system work better and more efficient but the needs of the workers must be taken into account. Getting injured workers prompt access to the care and wage replacement they need and the help they need to return to work should be the priority. Mario Cilento, President