-Illinois
6:04 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Business Groups Call For More Changes To Workers' Compensation Laws

Despite a drop in the rate of workers' compensation insurance, Illinois businesses say the system is still too burdensome.  

In 2011, Illinois changed its workers' compensation laws.  The state Department of Insurance, the governor and others say  the changes worked: the workers' comp insurance rate is down 4.5 percent.

Kim Maisch is a lobbyist representing the state association for small, independent businesses.

"We need to go a lot faster towards greater reform, and we certainly need to make sure the politicians know the job is not done," Maisch said.

Rep. Dwight Kay

Maisch says there should be more protections for businesses -- like making workers prove an injury really happened on the job rather than during off hours.

Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) says Illinois' rates are still too high.

"We still are not competitive with the states around us with regard to reforming our workers' compensation system," Kay said.

Kay says most of the savings comes from paying doctors less for treating injured workers, and he doesn't consider that "reform."

He says Illinois needs to make employees prove an injury happened on the job before forcing a company to pay a settlement.

But his proposed changes didn't gain any traction in the General Assembly.

Unions have fought that change, saying a higher burden of proof is unfair to workers.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.