|Snyder signs bills to update workers' comp, unemployment insurance systems
|Monday, Dec. 19, 2011
LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation strengthening the state's Unemployment Insurance program and updating workers' compensation laws.
"These bills are critical to our reinvention of Michigan," Snyder said. "Modernizing our unemployment insurance and workers' compensation systems will ensure their solvency and integrity."
House Bill 5002, sponsored by state Rep. Brad Jacobsen, continues the state's mission to protect workers who are injured on the job, while ensuring that the workers' compensation system remains viable. H.B. 5002 is now P.A. 266 of 2011.
The bill promotes certainty to workers and employers by codifying years of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions. Under the bill, a person receiving workers' compensation benefits must take a job that is within his or her skill set, and that they can physically perform, if it is available to them. If not, the person risks losing the compensation benefits.
"The system's goal must be to help injured workers get back on the job as soon as possible while making sure the benefits they deserve during recovery are paid fully and promptly," Snyder said. "These changes to this 100-year-old act will help ensure that the promise of compensation for injured employees is around for the next century."
The legislation supports the Workers' Compensation Agency's goal of gaining efficiencies through electronic filing and results in a savings of over $400,000 through reorganization of the mediation system for contested workers' compensation issues. Benefits held up by contested cases will move more quickly. Legal costs also will be reduced as the bill allows settlements to be entered without an additional hearing before a magistrate.
Issues such as fraudulent claims by employees or the failure of employers to secure coverage increase the cost of workers' compensation. H.B. 5002 requires the agency to report to the Legislature on measures taken to address such issues.