“Watered-down” workers’ compensation
Senate Democrats also walked away from the negotiating table when it comes to passing meaningful reforms to fix the state’s broken workers’ compensation system.
Instead of continuing talks on a real workers’ compensation reform that will reduce costs for employers, the majority moved forward with House Bill 2525, which some contend will actually make the current system worse. The proposal removes flexibility for insurers and their customers, while adding unnecessary delays and imposing significant resource demands and costs. Employers say it doesn’t go far enough to address other aspects of workers’ compensation reform—there are no limits on employer liability, no substantial changes to indemnity awards and no rebalancing of the fee schedule.
They then pushed through poorly-written legislation to put the state into the workers’ compensation insurance business. The problematic bill creates a government-backed insurance agency, putting Illinois taxpayers on the hook for a $10 million loan to create a new workers’ compensation insurance company.
For many years, Illinois employers have argued that the Land of Lincoln is at a severe economic disadvantage in terms of recruiting and keeping employers in the state, in no small part due to much higher rate of workers’ compensation insurance paid by Illinois businesses. Illinois employers already pay 27 percent more than the average state when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance rates. Illinois’ average payroll cost is $2.20/$100, while the national average is $1.85/$100.