At this year’s New York Self-Insurers Association Annual Meeting, Steven M. Scotti, Esq. provided an update on various aspects of recent workers’ compensation legislation impacting New York. In 2014, there were over 100 workers’ compensation bills pending, 65% of which were pro-labor.
Workers’ Compensation Legislation Enacted in 2014
1. New York State Commercial Goods Industry Fair Play Act:
- Creates a new standard to prevent misclassification of truckers as independent contractors.
- Presumes that such workers are employees unless payments for their services are reported on a federal income tax form 1099 (if required by law).
- To be considered a separate business entity, they must meet a list of 11 criteria (view them here).
- If not a separate business entity, they must be free from control and direction in performing the job, performing services outside of the usual course of business for the employer, and engaged in an independently-established trade, occupation or business that is similar to the service they perform.
2. NYCERS and WCB Mandatory Exchange of Information:
- Mandates that the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) and Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) share information so that they can implement pension plan offsets for the workers’ compensation benefits a retiree receives for the same injury.
- NYCERS shall provide WCB a monthly list of pensioners whose benefits are subject to offset.
- WCB shall verify which injured employees have been awarded workers’ compensation benefits and shall return the list to NYCERS within 14 days of receipt.
- WCB’s list included the award for each injured employee, date of accident, WCB case number, carrier ID and case number, beginning and ending dates of disability, payment interval and payment amount.
Bills Likely to Be Reintroduced for 2015 Billing Cycle
Since sessions run in two-year cycles for bills, 2015 begins a new cycle and most of the workers’ compensation bills from 2013-2014 will be reintroduced in early 2015. Here’s a watch list for 2015 workers’ compensation legislation:
- Bill S.76/A.6862 – Presumption of permanent total disability if approved for social security disability benefits
- Bill S.1754/A.2653 – Pharmacy choice for claimants
- Bill S.5294/A.7961 – Mandate for awards after voluntary withdrawal
- Bill S.4090/A.6559 – Death benefits continue if spouse remarries
- Bill S.4587/A.1569 – Removes mandatory aggregate trust fund for permanent partial disability cases (current mandatory requirement does not apply to self-insured employers)
- Bill S.6997/A.9068 – Requires medical treatment guidelines for all body parts and medical conditions
- A.5950 – Prohibits retroactive application of medical treatment guidelines