Workers' Compensation Isn't What It Used To Be
Most of us don’t know much about Workers’ Compensation until we need it - and your experience will depend a lot on where you live.
Caps on benefits and higher bars to qualify as “injured” are a few of the changes made in most states beginning in the 1990’s to lower the cost of Workers’ Compensation.
Employers say the program costs too much for them to remain competitive, and convinced legislators and unions on both sides of the aisle to reduce benefits.
Angie Wei, of the California Labor Federation says, "the cost of health insurance and the cost of Workers’ Comp kills our economy" and threatens jobs. So, until we get a handle on the cost of healthcare, workers' comp is going to "constrain how much we can return to workers."
But, guess what? Employers are paying the lowest rate for workers’ comp in close to 40 years, leaving workers - or taxpayers - to pick-up the tab when employees remain too disabled to return to work.
Not since Teddy Roosevelt first called for “a grand bargain” between labor and management in 1907 have injured workers received so little from employers convinced they pay too much.
So, is Roosevelt’s “grand bargain” still working today?
Today, we talk to Propublica reporter Michael Grabell and NPR correspondent Howard Berkes about their investigation -- and check in with how Connecticut is doing providing compensation to workers injured on the job.
- Howard Berkes - correspondent with NPR’s investigations unit
- Michael Grabell - reporter with ProPublica
- John Mastropietro - Chairman, State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission
John Dankosky and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.