Instead of continuing talks on real workers’ compensation reform that will reduce costs for employers, the Senate Democrat majority approved House Bill 2525, which contains content that State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) said would actually weaken the current system.
“The workers’ comp legislation the Senate Democrats passed today sent a message—they are no longer interested in reform. In fact, the biggest opposition to House Bill 2525 came from our job-creators,” said Tracy. “We have the eighth highest workers’ comp costs in the nation, already. In order to keep employers here and draw new business to Illinois, we need structural reform and substantial relief for business. It takes real reforms to create real jobs.”
The proposal would remove flexibility for insurers and their customers, while adding unnecessary delays and imposing significant resource demands and costs. Employers in opposition have said it does not go far enough to address other aspects of workers’ compensation reform, as there are no limits on employer liability, no substantial changes to indemnity awards and no rebalancing of the fee schedule.
For many years, Illinois has struggled in terms of recruiting and keeping employers in the state, in no small part due to a much higher rate of workers’ compensation insurance paid by Illinois businesses. Illinois employers already pay 27 percent more than the average state when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance rates. While Illinois’ average payroll cost is $2.20/$100, while the national average is $.185/$100.
House Bill 2525 will now move to back to the House for concurrence on to a Senate amendment.