‘Sick Building’ Proposal Expands Workers’ Comp Benefits

03.08.2013
Issues & Policies

A proposal that received a public hearing in the Labor Committee this week will allow workers’ compensation benefits to be awarded to employees suffering from “sick building syndrome or any building-related illness.”

HB 6556 is a vague bill with several undefined terms that could potentially lead to a spike in workers’ compensation claims in Connecticut.

For example, as currently written, HB 6556 does not require a medical professional to show how a claimant’s illness relates to exposure at work; it only requires that a “significant number” of employees exhibit the same symptoms.  

Also left undefined is what a significant number of employees would mean under the law.  

What’s more, the bill is unnecessary because Connecticut workers’ comp law already allows benefits to be awarded for occupational illnesses that are found to be related to employment.  

Workers will not gain any additional protection under the amendments to the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act as proposed in HB 6556, but the proposal will make the burden of defense–against potentially numerous new claims–much more difficult for employers.

This bill presents an unnecessary added burden to Connecticut’s employers. In a year in which employers have seen an average increase of 7% in their workers’ compensation rates, HB 6556 is certain to become another cost driver.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.

 

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