The most communal concerns of the Chamber630 700 member organization is healthcare and workers’ compensation insurance. Today, I address the latter. Located primarily in Downers Grove and Woodridge, Naperville and Oak Brook as well as 43 other municipalities throughout Chicagoland, its members’ size span from one of the largest employers in the State to successful entrepreneurs operating single handedly. All Illinois businesses struggle with a variety of issues such as onerous tax and fee structures, licensing, a sustainable workforce and unfriendly, unfunded mandates but workers’ compensation continues to reign at the top of the ‘Illinois con list.’
Chamber630 recognizes that the Workers’ Compensation Act is a catch-all for increasing costs and fraud at almost every level. The former is the symptom of the latter but it is the cost of workers’ compensation premiums that drive business to close their doors or worse, leave the State of Illinois. The rules are broad and the threshold low which unmistakably provides for unfair burdens on the shoulders of all employers including the under-funded not-for-profit organizations that care for those in need throughout our State.
Employees are the most valuable asset of any organization, it’s important to protect them and to properly compensate for injuries occurring while on the job. It is unfair however, to hold employers accountable for payment on injuries occurring while not on the job. Currently, if the employment is related in any way to the injury, no matter how minor, the employee’s injury is compensable. If a work injury aggravates or accelerates a pre-existing condition even slightly, the employer is 100% liable for the workers’ compensation claim. One local not-for-profit organization actually had to pay on a claim of a paper cut – hard to believe but true in the State of Illinois.
Common sense and objective thinking all indicate that the causation standard needs to be raised to indicate a considerable contributor to an injury. The work accident should be more than 50% responsible for the injury compared to all other causes to be compensable. This single reform would bring Illinois in line with 29 other states that have higher causation standards and would reduce workers’ compensation premiums by eliminating compensation for non-work injuries.
Illinois businesses are losing hope, change must occur before it’s too late and modification of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act would be a very big step in the right direction. Keep Illinois businesses in Illinois.
Chamber630 President & CEO
2001 Butterfield Road, Suite 105
Downers Grove, IL 60515