Tennessee is torn in two about the fate of the common man. Tennessee legislation will soon re-vote on a controversial bill that seeks to allow companies that meet certain standards in order to opt-out of providing state mandated worker’s compensation. Instead, the companies would implement individual plans which would allow them to make judgments on provisions independently of the government.
Republican Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green and State Rep. Jeremy Durham advocated for the bill last year. Although the legislation was amended, several times, it failed to pass in 2015 and was put on the back burner until the next legislative session. The current legislative session started on Jan. 12, 2015, and will continue for the next couple of months. Officials say that the opt-out bill will be ranked high on the list of importance.
While no verdict has been processed yet, many have voiced their opinions on the bill through op-eds and interviews. Insurance companies and worker’s comp. advocates are opposing the bill as they claim it will be a way for companies to reduce costs and focus on profits, not on the welfare of their employees. Opponents also state that the Worker’s Compensation Reform Act of 2013, which was passed through a landslide vote, succeeded in decreasing employers’ costs by 20%.
Supporters of the bill claim that worker’s rights will not be affected and that an employer would still offer the same, if not better, benefits to his or her workers. The new addendum also emphasizes that a worker can sue his or her employer for any troubles regarding lack of benefits. Employers who take the risk of opting out must understand that they are vulnerable to such lawsuits and continue to provide good benefits.
Worker’s compensation is a kind of insurance provided to employees so that they may be assured that, If they get hurt on the job, they will be provided with compensation and benefits. Worker’s compensation also ensures that employees can return to their job or perform different, less strenuous, tasks until their injuries have been healed.
Currently, Texas and Oklahoma have opt-out programs, and each state has different terms and provisions.
Workers’ rights may be threatened if the bill is approved in Tennessee. If you, or someone you love, was denied worker’s compensation after an accident that occurred in the workplace, contact Morgan & Morgan. Our firm offers a free, no-obligation case review to inform you about your rights in the workplace.