Neighboring Iowa is set to radically change how workers’ compensation works in their state. The state house and senate have passed a law that would drastically reduce the payouts that injured workers can get in a workplace injury. The bill sits on the governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.
Iowa’s New Workers’ Compensation Bill
Following last November’s election, which saw Iowa swing into Republican control, legislators there started revising the state’s workers’ compensation laws. The bill that they came up with, though, is very business-friendly, and makes it far harder for injured workers to get the compensation they need after a workplace injury.
The core of the new bill is a reduction to the amount of compensation that’s available to workers for specific kinds of injuries. Workers who suffer shoulder injuries on the job would not be able to recover nearly as much under the new law as they could, before. Additionally, pre-existing conditions would see a decrease in workers’ compensation coverage, leaving many workers at serious risk.
In all, the new bill is expected to reduce the amount that injured workers receive in Iowa by $1.8 million every year.
In addition to gutting a significant portion of the workers’ compensation payment scheme, the bill also bans local governments from enacting their own minimum wage laws in the state. Some cities in the area, including St. Louis, had started increasing the minimum wage laws within their jurisdiction to help people earn livable wages inside their borders. Iowa’s new bill prevents localities from going higher than the state’s minimum wage law. This is another huge win for businesses, there.
Support for the Bill is Misleading
The bill’s supporters are claiming that the new law would change an overly-litigated issue and reduce the workers’ compensation premiums that businesses have to pay to fund the payments for hurt workers.
However, the workers’ compensation premiums in Iowa had fallen, going into 2017. While some types of businesses and industries – like those that have a higher risk of injured workers – pay more than the state average, Iowa’s workers’ compensation scheme generally favored employers, already. Reducing workers’ compensation premiums even more just leads to a windfall for businesses and a problem for workers.
Additionally, workers’ compensation claims in Iowa were not on the rise, or even surprisingly high. Nearly one in ten of them were filed against a mere two businesses – Tyson Foods and John Deere. Both of these businesses are among the bill’s most fervent supporters.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Bills like this one passing through the Iowa state government are scary for workers. While hailed as “business friendly,” the reality is that they help employers, but come at the expense of employees.
If you get hurt while on the job, you should be compensated for your injuries so that you can make a full recovery. Workers’ compensation is there to ensure that this happens. Unfortunately, it can still be a difficult fight to get what you deserve. Having a solid workers’ compensation from the Smith Law Office can help. Contact us online or call our St. Joseph law office at (816) 875-9373.