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Michigan considers change to workers' compensation rules

As you may know, workers' compensation is designed to protect both the workers who are injured on the job and as well as employers. Generally, workers compensation is the means by which an injured worker can obtain benefits if they are hurt at their job. Michigan employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to compensate injured workers. The idea is to ensure that workers medical bills and other expenses are covered while allowing employer to avoid personal injury claims.

Now the Michigan legislature is considering changes to the state's workers' compensation laws. The proposed changes are, in part, a result of request from the business community to help reduce the costs associated with workers' compensation.

Supporters of the change, mostly chambers of commerce and other business groups, say that the changes would reflect the often shorter recovery periods that have been achieved though medical advances, particularly for knee and hip replacements.

But opponents of the modification say that the modifications may require workers who are too hurt to return to work to obtain alternative employment. Given the economic struggles nearly everyone in the state is facing the likelihood of finding another job while a worker is injured remains an open question. One legislator indicates that the potential pay from alternative employment could even be deducted from the workers benefits even if they are not actually able to secure alternative employment.

The legislator also disputes claims that the assertion that employers expense related to workers compensation are driving businesses from the state. She points out that the rates in Michigan are in line with other states.

Source: Michigan Radio, "Changes to Michigan's workers' compensation rules considered," Rina Miller, Oct. 6, 2011

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