Maine: WC Reform Bill Includes Just Moderate Changes

17 Jun, 2019 Nancy Grover

                               

Augusta, ME (WorkersCompensation.com) - A bill that’s received unanimous approval from a joint legislative committee would impose far fewer changes to Maine’s workers’ compensation system then legislation proposed earlier this year. According to news reports, the Labor and Housing Committee late last week voted to make a number of changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system, including:

  • Increasing the maximum weekly benefit for workers’ compensation from 100 percent to 125 percent of the state’s average weekly wage
  • Allowing annual cost-of-living adjustments of up to 5 percent for injured workers on full disability after a five-year waiting period
  • Doubling the allowable period to file a workers’ compensation claim from 30 days to 60 days following an on-the-job injury

However, the measure would not make the sweeping changes included in the more than two dozen bills proposed earlier on.

According to the Portland Press Herald, republicans on the Labor and Housing Committee ultimately decided to opt for the compromise legislation to avoid potentially more sweeping reforms. The democratic party controls both chambers and the governor’s mansion in Maine.

Republican members had previously favored no reforms to the workers’ compensation system. Advocates for labor had said past reforms have created an unfair system for injured workers, while those opposed to reforms said the current system provided stability to the system, once the most expensive in the country.

By agreeing to the compromise legislation last week, the committee rescinded a version passed last month. That legislation had called for more increases in benefits to injured workers. Democrats had said they would only endorse the compromise version if there was bipartisan support.

Since reforms were passed in 1992, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance has decreased by a reported 60 percent, while occupational injuries have been reduced by approximately 50 percent.

According to the Maine Legislature’s website, LD 600SP0187 was  passed to be enacted by both chambers on Friday and engrossed in the House.


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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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