North Carolina business advocates pleased with reform legislation
The state House and Senate sent Gov. Bev Perdue reform legislation she was expected to sign.
H.B. 709, the Protect and Put North Carolina Back to Work bill, limits the duration of temporary total disability benefits to 500 weeks (10 years). It also provides an opportunity for injured workers to appeal to the Industrial Commission for benefits beyond the 500 weeks.
"The Chamber was successful in crafting this potential exception in a balanced way that will ensure that the exception doesn't become the rule," according to a statement from the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
According to the chamber, the legislation also:
- Increases temporary partial disability benefits to 500 weeks from 300 weeks.
- Brings the Industrial Commission under the Administrative Procedures Act.
- Reduces to six from seven the number of commissioners on the Industrial Commission and requires legislative confirmation of appointments.
- Gives both sides equal access to medical information.
- Provides better communication to improve the rehabilitation process.
- Defines the term suitable employment once a worker reaches maximum medical improvement to provide clarity and improve the ability to return the employee to work.
- Increases the death benefit to 500 weeks from 400 weeks for survivors of workers killed.
Insurance industry groups say the legislation is a compromise bill developed by representatives of the chamber, the Employers' Coalition of North Carolina, the trial bar, and labor.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
July 11, 2011
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