Oaks: Significant Workers’ Comp Reform Achieved

February 27, 2007

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C-Macedon) today announced an agreement to reform New York's workers' compensation system.

Having fought for years to reduce costs to employers and expand benefits for injured workers, Assemblyman Oaks said, “I am thrilled with this agreement. This was my number one priority for the 2007 legislative session and it will help New York businesses reduce costs and become more competitive, especially in the areas of manufacturing and construction.”

Currently, New York has the second-highest workers' compensation costs per case and is ranked 48th among 50 states in benefit levels to workers. Individual businesses and the New York State Business Council have cited high workers' compensation premiums as a reason for job losses in New York.

“This agreement will help create a more efficient workers' compensation system and lower costs to New York's businesses, making them more competitive with other states,” said Oaks. “In addition, it will help injured workers get prompt medical treatment so they can more quickly regain their health and return to work.”

Under the agreement, the maximum weekly benefit for injured workers will increase for the first time since 1992. The benefit will increase from $400 to $500 per week in the first year, while the minimum weekly benefit will increase from $40 to $100.

Cost-savings measures include capping permanent partial disability benefits and instituting aggressive anti-fraud measures in the workers' compensation system. Additionally, the bill will provide for more transparency in the workers' compensation system by gathering data on system costs.

“The savings of 10-15% in the workers' compensation costs of New York's businesses will help improve New York's economy,” said Assemblyman Oaks. “There is still more that needs to be done but this reform legislation is a critical first step to helping bring about job growth in our region and throughout the state.”