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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who Is Paying the Premiums for Workers Compensation Anyway

Employes have been subject to "give backs" and "add on" costs for decades, but now employers want to shift the cost of workers compensation insurance to employees. The intent of the workers' compensation act was to shift the costs of workers' compensation coverage to the consumer of the product and/or user of the service and not the employee.

A recent Massachusetts Judge reiterated that principle, but left open the question as to whether the employee could consensually contract to accept the costs of workers' compensation coverage. If this occurs, it is ultimately a "deal breaker."

Cost shifting of workers' compensation coverage is a dangerous precedent going to the heart of the initial promise made to workers in creating the system. Is is against  "public policy," and defeats the Legislative intent of the act. While the economy is soft and the workers' compensation system in a weakened condition it is not time to abandon ship unless a more creative approach for reform of the entire system comes into play. As jobs remain scarce, the process would not be consensual, but merely coercion. Shifting the cost would ultimately remove the deterrent effect for unsafe workplaces, and yet is another reason why employers and ultimately consumers should remain responsible for workers compensation  costs.

See: Awuah v. Coverall North America, Inc.,--- N.E.2d ----, Mass. , 2011 WL 3805255, Mass., August 31, 2011 (NO. SJC-10829)

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.