Republicans propose more handouts to special interest groups

Workers compensation lawyer in Michigan explains how Senate Bill No. 1012 (2012) is a gift to the trucking industry and will only hurt injured workers.

Just three months after major reform to the workers compensation law and we are already faced with more proposed changes. Senate Republicans James Marleau (primary), Michael Kowall, David Robertson, and Jack Brandenburg have sponsored a bill that would exempt certain trucking companies from having to provide workers compensation coverage for their drivers.

Workers compensation pays benefits to people who are hurt on-the-job. Some employers try to game the system by classifying all of their employees as independent contractors. This is called employee misclassification and it is a big problem.

Our experience shows that trucking companies are some of the worst offenders. We believe that Senate Bill No. 1012 (2012) will do nothing but institutionalize this problem.

What’s the big deal with employee misclassification?

When an employer unfairly classifies its employees as independent contractors, it pays less into the workers compensation system. This is done at the expense of other employers and insurance companies.

In addition, truck drivers who are hurt on-the-job don’t just disappear because there is no workers compensation. Private health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare must pick up the tab. This legislation will be a cost shift away from the responsible employer to other payers.

The Second Injury Fund is another example of how employee misclassification is a problem. It is financed by self-insured employers and insurance companies. The amount that must be contributed to the fund is based upon a proportionate share of indemnity benefits paid and insurance premiums written. When a company misclassifies its employees as independent contractors, it pays less into the fund to everyone’s detriment.

Senate Bill No. 1012 (2012)

The workers compensation law was just amended in December 2011. These changes were made to update and bring clarity to the law.

On and after January 1, 2013, the issue of whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor will be resolved using a 20-factor test announced by the IRS.

Senate Bill 1012 (2012) carves out an exception for the trucking and messenger courier industries.  It creates a complicated set of rules to determine whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor.

We believe this exception will lead to more litigation and greater uncertainty. It will also open the door for other special interest groups to try to amend the workers compensation law for their own benefit.

Contact your state representatives

Any changes to the workers compensation law must be done with serious thought and consideration. Contact your state representatives and tell them to protect workers compensation. Special interest groups should not come before Michigan workers!

To speak with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Michigan, call (855) 221-2667 for a free telephone consultation. We are committed to protecting injured workers and making sure that fair compensation is paid.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years.  Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Senate Bill No. 1012 (2012)

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