(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Emerging Concepts for Future Workers' Compensation Benefits: Portability Now

Workers' Compensation as a benefit program is beginning to evolve under the concept of "The Shared Economy." Attacked from within and without, challenged by abuse and fraud, drained by the cottage industries and vendors, national lawmakers, labor leaders, insurance companies, governmental agencies, and the media, are speaking out to change the century old system that fails to integrate with current social, political, economic and medical programs.

A recent letter from national labor leaders has called for a "portable" system of benefits that will replace the current patch-work of systems called "workers' compensation programs.":

"We need a portable vehicle for worker protections and benefits.Traditionally, benefits and protections such as workers compensation, unemployment insurance, paid time off, retirement savings, and training/development have been, largely or partly, components of a worker’s employment relationship with an employer. The Affordable Care Act has disrupted that model, providing more independent workers a different avenue of access to health insurance. Another new model is needed to support new ways of work. We believe this model should be:

Independent: Any worker should be able to access a certain basic set of protections as an individual regardless of where they source income opportunities.

Flexible and pro-rated: People are pulling together income from a variety of sources, so any vehicle should support contributions that can be pro-rated by units of money earned, jobs done, or time worked, covering new ways of micro-working across different employers or platforms.

Portable: A person should be able to take benefits and protections with them in and out of various work scenarios.

Universal: All workers should have access to a basic set of benefits regardless of employment status.

Supportive of innovation: Businesses should be empowered to explore and pilot safety net options regardless of the worker classification they utilize.