Honolulu, HI (CompNewsNetwork) - The Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, recently signed Senate Bill 2050 into law, first introduced into the Senate on January 20th, 2001. Senate Bill 2050, as related to Vocational Rehabilitation in Workers' Compensation Law requires a provider in its rehabilitation plan to determine if modified or other work with the same employer represents suitable gainful employment.

The amendment will allow search for suitable gainful employment with the injured worker's current employer followed by search for suitable gainful employment with different employers.

George M. Waialeale of Hawaii Injured Workers Alliance believes that "SB 2050 fine tulles the vocational rehabilitation provisions ofHawaii's workers' compensation law by directing vocational counselors to seek "modified or other work with the same employer" rather than "a different employer", as now stated in Section 386-25(e) HRS. The mandate that counselors strive to maintain an injured workers' employment with the same Employer is a logical and common sense approach that should be embodied into law. Employees obviously can be returned to work most rapidly by retaining them With their original employers in new or modified jobs that are consistent with their physical or mental limitations.

Such action is not only sound rehabilitation policy and a cost effective strategy in reducing the financial losses incurred due to industrial accidents, but it is generally an action that is consonant with the broad purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Hawaii Civil Rights Law, which both emphasize that handicapped individuals are entitled to "reasonable accommodation" for their handicaps. Maintaining employment with the same employer also permits the injured employee to continue to accrue seniority and pension credit."

Senate Bill 2050 will be in effect July 1, 2010.

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