Employers Opting Out of Workers’ Comp

business_ethics_highlights_2This is in part a story about law and regulation. When does a workers’ compensation plan violate the law, and when does it not? But it is also a story about morality and duty. Billy Walker’s wife and child received $250,000 from his employer when he was killed in a fall. Did his employer have a duty to do more? What if Mr. Walker and his wife knew the risks, and could have afforded to take a less well-paying (and less risky) job?. >>>

LINK: Opt-Out Plans Let Companies Work Without Workers’ Comp (by Howard Berkes for NPR)

…State laws in both Oklahoma and Texas allow employers to opt out of workers’ compensation and develop their own workplace injury plans. Those plans generally cover fewer injuries, cut off benefits payments sooner, control access to doctors and even impose mandatory settlements, according to an NPR and ProPublica investigation. In Oklahoma, we found that most plans blatantly violate the law, yet regulators say they are powerless to respond….

…His employer, Ransor Inc., paid a lump sum death benefit of $250,000, which mostly went into a trust for their daughter and paid for bills and a place to live. If Ransor had subscribed to workers’ comp, the state-prescribed formula for death benefits could have paid Meloy and Kaylee as much as $1 million during the rest of their lives…..

What do you think?


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