Defending workers' compensation reform
 March 26, 2013

CMTA is opposed to this year‟s SB 626 (Jim Beall, D-Campbell) which would roll back some of the biggest cost saving proposals in the reforms passed last year in SB 863 (Chapter Number 363, Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles). This bill would leave employers paying for nearly $1 billion in benefit increases with no expectation that this cost would be offset by system savings.

Last year, labor unions and employers came together to reform California‟s workers‟ compensation system. The goal of the reforms was to provide injured workers with needed benefit increases, but offset these increased costs by closing certain loopholes and making California‟s workers‟ compensation system operate more efficiently with fewer disputes and litigation. The reforms achieved this balance – injured workers are guaranteed nearly $1 billion in benefit increases, while employer costs are projected to be reduced after regulatory implementation of system reforms. The proposals were forged and vetted by representatives of both labor and employers through a multi-year process of research, discussion and extensive negotiations.

SB 626 eliminates the entire balance of the deal and would erase hundreds of millions of dollars in projected savings. It would roll-back reforms dealing with timely, high-quality medical treatment and a more predictable – and less litigious – permanent disability system.

SB 626 is a giant step backwards for California employers during the current fragile economic recovery.

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