Kolb Announces Landmark Workers’ Comp Reform

Measures poised to save New York employers millions of dollars
February 27, 2007

Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R,C,I –Canandaigua) today announced historic New York State Workers’ Compensation reform that stands to increase benefits for workers and lower costs to employers by hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Employers and workers stand to benefit greatly from these proposals,” Kolb said. “I am pleased that after so long we have an agreement that is going to benefit everyone. I hope that we can work off today’s momentum and next tackle 240/241 –New York’s antiquated scaffolding workers liability laws that unnecessarily burden upstate businesses with significant costs.”

As an entrepreneur and small business advocate, Assemblyman Kolb has long-held the belief that reducing the costs of workers’ compensation is an integral part of encouraging employers to expand their operations and increase New York’s competitive edge in a global economy.

For years, the Assembly minority has been advocating cost-saving measures to help businesses and a benefit increase to improve the quality of life for injured workers. Today, this has come to fruition:

  • Increase the current maximum weekly benefit rate for injured workers from $400 to $500, and then increases it over a period of four years to two-thirds of the state’s average weekly wage
  • Provide cost savings to businesses by capping permanent partial disability benefits, while continuing medical care and establishing a safety net to assist injured workers’ return to employment and intervene during cases of severe destitution
  • Establish strong anti-fraud measures
  • Annually index the benefit for injured workers to provide further increases to counter the effect of inflation and increased cost-of-living
  • Create transparency in the workers’ compensation system by improving collection of data on premiums and losses
  • Expedite the compensation hearing process to streamline the course of treatment and return to work.

“We achieved an agreement on reforms that I believe are the key to fostering a more competitive business climate and that will spur economic growth in Upstate New York,” Kolb said. “I long championed many of these changes and am proud we have an agreement today.”