Respect. Response. Results.®

Major Workers’ Compensation Issues to Affect Employers and Employees in 2011

Among the key budgetary issues legislatures will have to address this year, workers' compensation is one that can have lasting implications on employers, employees and insurance providers alike. Preston Diamond, Director of the Institute for WorkComp Professionals, identified a number of issues that are certain to affect these groups in 2011 and in years to come. This article will highlight a few of these issues and identify what employees may do to protect themselves.

Integration of Health and Wellness Programs

Healthy workers are less likely to be injured and they tend to return to work sooner. While this may be the prevailing norm, many employers have not made the connection between workplace safety and employee wellness. Mr. Diamond notes that the combination of new research, court rulings, and tighter budgets have led to more executives considering how health and wellness programs can benefit workers. Essentially, workers can benefit from participating in employer-sponsored wellness programs that could lower their health insurance premiums.

Injured Workers Staying Out Longer

According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, (NCCI) temporary total disability payments are increasing because injured workers are returning to work at a slower pace. The past recession has created fewer transitional opportunities for injured workers, especially when employers are laying off other employees for economic reasons.

Increased OSHA Presence

The article further noted that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) now has increased funding, additional investigators and staff members, and is determined to increase enforcement activities. This suggests that OSHA is monitoring safety complaints made by employees and will take swift action against unabated violations.

Misclassification of Independent Contractors

With federal and state governments facing budget crises, they continue to look for ways to recoup lost tax revenues. It is estimated that 3.4 million workers are improperly classified as independent contractors, costing the federal government $4.5 billion in tax revenue. Because of this, many states have passed laws forcing employers to classify workers as employees and pay unpaid taxes.

Increase in Litigation

While workers' compensation is designed to reduce litigation, more disabled workers are being forced from the workplace. As such, the prospect for litigation continues to rise. The Diamond article notes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saw a record number of complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and other related statutes. Litigation commonly ensues when workers' compensation claims are improperly denied, when injured workers are terminated when they cannot return to a previous job, or when accommodations cannot be made. Injured employees can protect themselves by consulting with attorneys so that they can learn about their rights and options, and make informed decisions.

While there are a number of other issues that can affect workers' compensation in the coming years, employees can protect themselves by advocating for and participating in health and wellness programs, promptly reporting safety violations, and consulting attorneys to stay abreast of the laws and regulations that protect them in the workplace.

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.

Video Testimonials

Testimonial from Robert Springfield Illinois Attorneys 888-U-Count-2 Robert discusses his injury after a fall from a ladder. Contact Kanoski & Associates in Springfield, Illinois for personal injury representation.

Office Locations


Bloomington office
Kanoski Bresney
237 East Front Street
Bloomington, IL 61701
Phone: 309-829-5700
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Bloomington Law Office Map

Champaign Office
Kanoski Bresney
314 South Neil Street
Champaign, IL 61820
Phone: 217-356-1570
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Champaign Law Office Map

Decatur Office
Kanoski Bresney
363 South Main Street
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: 217-429-3509
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Decatur Law Office Map

Macomb Office
Kanoski Bresney
118 North Lafayette Street
Macomb, IL 61455

Phone: 309-836-1002
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Macomb Law Office Map

Pekin Office
Kanoski Bresney
427 1/2 Court Street
Pekin, IL 61554
Phone: 309-353-9828
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Pekin Law Office Map

Quincy Office
Kanoski Bresney
2632 Broadway Street
Quincy, IL 62301
Phone: 217-222-5504
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Quincy Law Office Map

Rushville Office
Kanoski Bresney
129 South Congress Street
Rushville, IL 62681
Phone: 217-322-4346
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Rushville Law Office Map

Springfield Office
Kanoski Bresney
2730 South MacArthur Boulevard
Springfield, IL 62704
Phone: 217-523-7742
Toll Free: 866-438-2419
Springfield Law Office Map

Or Call (866) 438-2419