NCLEJ Supports New York State Workers’ Comp. Revised Proposed Regulations and Guidelines

In April 2017, the New York State Legislature enacted legislation that requires the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to adopt new impairment guidelines for scheduled loss of use awards, which are awarded to workers who suffer a permanent impairment as a result of a workplace injury or illness. In September, the Board released its proposed guidelines and regulations . The proposed guidelines would have drastically cut benefits for permanently injured workers. In addition, the proposed regulations would have required the injured worker to submit to examinations by a doctor chosen by her insurance company, regardless of whether the worker had concerns about the particular doctor, including whether the doctor could communicate in the worker’s language. If the worker did not fully cooperate with the insurer’s doctor, the worker would have forfeited her benefits. The original proposed regulations and guidelines were a serious assault on the rights of injured workers.

Thanks to hard work by NCLEJ, the Workers’ Protection Coalition, and their allies, the Board received more than 50,000 comments opposing the proposed regulations and guidelines. In response, the Board released a new package of proposed regulations and guidelines on November 22. The latest package is a significant improvement. Under the latest guidelines, very few workers will see benefit cuts, and the Board has withdrawn the proposed regulations threatening workers’ rights. However, the latest proposed guidelines are not perfect. They would result in significant benefit cuts to some workers, such as those who require a full joint replacement.

Our work is not over yet. The Board must permanently adopt final regulations and guidelines by the end of December 2017, and it is accepting comments on the latest proposed regulations and guidelines until December 22. It is crucial that low wage workers and their allies urge the Board to adopt the November 22 proposed regulations and guidelines, with minor amendments to ensure that no workers face cuts to their workers’ compensation benefits.

Read NCLEJ’s comments here.

Submit your own comment to the Workers’ Compensation Board here.