The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Governor Pat Quinn Signs Workers' Compensation Reform Laws

Governor Pat Quinn signed a new workers' compensation law that would significantly help Illinois businesses save money. Whether the new law helps injured workers is another issue.

According to the Associated Press, the new workers' compensation law would save Illinois businesses between $500 and $700 million by cutting the premiums they have to pay into the system.

The workers' compensation system is basically an employer-funded insurance program for injured workers. Workers injured on the job can receive benefits like medical assistance and lost wages from the workers' compensation fund. That fund (worth about $3 billion) comes from premiums that businesses pay for each of their workers.

The new law now essentially cuts that premium payment by reducing the amount that businesses have to pay to treat injured workers and by limiting the types of treatment options available to injured workers, reports the AP.

While this is great for businesses, the new law may not be so great for injured workers.

With less money to pay for injuries, the AP reports that workers may face longer delays in receiving care.

Also, as businesses can now create their own medical networks, workers may have to deal with less employee-friendly doctors and more limited care options.

Furthermore, the new law places hard caps on rewards for certain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome — one of the most common complaints.

Still, Governor Pat Quinn says that the new law will help both Illinois businesses and injured workers. Quinn claims that the decreased premiums will streamline the system for injured workers and would prevent abuse of the system.

Whether a 30% decrease in workers’ compensation funds ultimately benefits injured workers is to be determined. Until then, Illinois businesses are the clear winners of the new law.

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