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How Cuomo’s Changes to NY Workers’ Comp Law Could Affect You

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced reforms to New York’s current Workers’ Compensation laws as part of his 2017 agenda. This, alongside potential changes to rideshare operations in the state, will have a significant effect on workers and employers if it is passed. Cuomo stated that his goal is to reduce costs to employers, which will ideally attract new job creators to the upstate regions of New York.

Reducing Costs for Businesses

Cuomo’s plan is to reduce costs to employers, but not all parties are certain that this will benefit workers. One of the proposed changes to the current Workers’ Compensation laws is a reduction to the maximum amount of time an injured worker can collect payments. Although this can cut costs and help employers in the short term, it can also mean that workers will be unable to receive the time and money they need while recovering from injuries. Cuomo stated that his proposed new rules would create a more responsive, efficient Workers’ Compensation system that also raises the minimum benefit for injured workers.

Revisiting the 2007 and 2013 Workers’ Compensation Reforms

This is not the first time New York has made reforms to its Workers’ Compensation policies. In 2007, the law was changed to shorten the amount of time an injured worker can receive benefits, but according to the Business Council of New York State’s Director of Government Affairs Liv Ginsburg, these reforms have largely been ignored. He stated that since 2007, Workers’ Compensation costs have risen every year. Although reducing Workers’ Compensation costs was one of the goals of the 2013 budget, New York is still one of the most expensive states in the country to do business.

The Gig Economy and Redefining Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation

Our economy is changing. Currently, the New York State Assembly is facing pressure to alter current laws to allow rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to expand into upstate cities. Drivers for these companies as well as other individuals who work “gig” type jobs through companies like TaskRabbit and Handy are often considered to be independent contractors, ineligible for Workers’ Compensation. But in 2016, the New York Department of Labor ruled that Uber drivers were entitled to collect Workers’ Compensation in two cases, which could set a precedent leading to greater coverage, and greater costs, for all workers.

Work with an Experienced New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

As an employed New Yorker, any change to the current Workers’ Compensation laws will affect you. Keep yourself up to date on the latest law changes and if you are injured on the job, know your rights and the correct procedure for seeking compensation under your employer’s coverage policy. To learn more about seeking Workers’ Compensation in New York, speak with one of the experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at The Robert A. Koenigsberg Law Office. Contact our team today to set up your initial consultation with us.

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