Home / Today's Top Stories / Compromise produces
workers’ comp pact

Compromise produces
workers’ comp pact

In a compromise that may not completely please either the business community or labor, state legislative leaders and Gov. George Pataki have agreed to split the difference on workers’ compensation reform.
The agreement–reached at midnight–comes as part of a larger budget compromise that will add roughly $1.4 billion to Pataki’s budget, bringing the overall spending plan to some $64 billion.
The three-way workers’ comp deal leaves Dole v.

Compromise produces
workers’ comp pact

In a compromise that may not completely please either the business community or labor, state legislative leaders and Gov. George Pataki have agreed to split the difference on workers’ compensation reform.
The agreement–reached at midnight–comes as part of a larger budget compromise that will add roughly $1.4 billion to Pataki’s budget, bringing the overall spending plan to some $64 billion.
The three-way workers’ comp deal leaves Dole v. Dow partially intact, holds benefits at current levels and also leaves standing New York’s so-called scaffold laws.
Details of the budget and the workers’ comp agreement are still being worked out today, said Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit.
Reached this afternoon on the Assembly floor, Morelle called the workers’ comp package a compromise that probably will please business more than labor. Neither business nor labor representatives were in on the 11th-hour talks, he said.
Business groups including the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce had lobbied heavily for complete repeal of Dole v. Dow.
Labor interests, such as the AFL-CIO, and the New York State Trial Lawyers Association pushed to keep the law intact.
Under Dole v. Dow, New York employers can be sued in third-party actions by out-of-state equipment manufacturers who themselves have been sued by injured workers. According to the state Compensation Rating Board, the provision–unique to this state–hikes New York workers’ comp rates 6 percent.
The reform package puts some restrictions on third-party actions, but still allows such suits in cases in which workers are killed or suffer very serious injuries such as brain damage, loss of an arm or leg, or loss of more than one finger or toe.
Morelle said the governor and legislative leaders believe such restrictions will shave 3 percent off workers’ comp rates. The total reform package is expected to cut rates 15 percent, he added. Business groups had pushed for a 25 percent reduction.
Also adopted as part of the reform package were requirements that insurers step up anti-fraud measures, a provision that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, had originally pushed as an alternative to Dole v. Dow repeal.
In the overall budget pact, Pataki, Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno agreed to restore $400 million in school aid, $300 million in Medicaid funding, $55 million to welfare spending and $164 million in higher-education money.
The higher-education money will mean no tuition hikes for State University of New York schools this year.

x

Check Also

The second Luminate NY cohort.

NextCorps announces 2019 Luminate NY cohort (access required)

The second cohort of the Luminate NY accelerator has been announced, featuring 10 companies stretching from Israel to California. The ...

deanjones_soundcloud

Dean Jones: Genesee Pilot Brewery Brewmaster

A conversation with Genesee Pilot Brewery Brewmaster Dean Jones on Rochester’s craft beer scene and where Genesee fits in.