Labor Department Calls for Study of Federal Role in Workers’ Comp Laws
In the aftermath of changes made to state workers’ compensation laws, the Labor Department is asking for a deeper look into federal oversight and minimum benefits. Nationwide, states have implemented new workers’ compensation laws that have allegedly limited benefits, reduced the chances of successfully applying for benefits, and discourages injured workers from applying for the very benefits they are entitled to. According to NPR, a report released by the Labor Department states that “working people are at great risk of falling into poverty.”
The Labor Department is also asking that the 1972 Nixon administration commission be reestablished, which recommends minimum benefits and urges Congress to take action in the event that states fail to comply to basic workers’ compensation laws. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says that, without these minimum standards, the system will be putting injured employees at risk of sinking below the poverty line.
“More Federal Oversight is Necessary”
With proper federal minimum benefits in place, employees who have been injured on the job are guaranteed to not receive lesser benefits than what is needed solely because they are residing in a state where lawmakers dramatically slashed workers’ compensation costs for employers. “Clearly, more federal oversight is necessary to assure that this system works for those most in need of assistance,” said Deborah Berkowitz, a senior fellow at the National Employment Law Project.
At its core, the report offers the foundation for a federal intervention to take place by outlining details pertaining to the government’s extensive history of encouraging national benefit standards, which spans back to 1939. In light of this new information, however, individuals in the workers’ comp industry expect that any chance of controlling a federal roll will be met with a fair amount of pushback.
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