Workers' compensation legislative day

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 15, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On Tuesday, June 12th, over 60 public and private entities came together to share a positive message on Workers' Compensation with members of the California State Senate and Assembly.

Several CMTA members participated in this annual legislative day in the Capitol.  It was an opportunity for business to talk about the impact of the Workers' Comp reforms and provide legislators with information on how they have used their savings.  The following are the bad bills that CMTA discussed in our meetings.

AB 338 (Joe Coto, D-San Jose) Temporary Disability (TD)
This legislation would increase the maximum number of weeks an injured worker receives temporary disability from 104 to 156 and changes the window of eligibility from two to five years from the date of the first TD payment.  It also has employers paying additional TD benefits when they challenge a medical opinion through the utilization review (UR) process. AB 338, as amended on the floor of the Assembly recently, significantly changes the way TD benefits are calculated for prisoners who are hurt during their incarceration.

AB 1212 (Fabian Nunez, Assembly Speaker, D-Los Angeles) Permanent Disability Rating (PD)
This legislation requires the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation to revise the PD Rating Schedule as approved on January 1, 2005, which would result in an increase to PD ratings.

AB 1636 (Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia) Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher
This legislation drastically changes the law regarding the provision of the supplemental job displacement voucher in SB 899 (the workers' comp. reform bill, Chapter 34, Statutes of 2004, Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno).  The revised statute would require the employer to provide the voucher to the injured worker no later than 74 days after the termination of TD regardless of whether that employee has been deemed permanent and stationary.  Furthermore, the proposed statute requires the employer to provide the voucher based upon an estimated level of disability and carries no provision to allow the employer to be reimbursed if the voucher benefit was more than ultimately allowed.

SB 936 (Don Perata, Senate President Pro Tempore, D-Oakland) Permanent Disability Rating
This legislation doubles the permanent partial disability payment over a three-year period for the injured worker irrespective of empirical data collected by the Division of Workers' Compensation or any other organization.  

SB 942 (Carole Migden, D-San Francisco) Workers' Compensation
This legislation reverses the important gains made by employers to refocus the workers' compensation in California to one that relies on and encourages the employer to return the employee back to the workplace.  This bill allows for a civil penalty of $100 for every day an employer fails to return an injured worker after being cleared by his/her physician (even if the employer is in the process of a new work accommodation).  SB 942 would also require an employer to provide reimbursement for lost wages and benefits in the event that the employer objects to the treating physician's recommendation and seeks another opinion from a Qualified Medical Examiner.

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