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NY bill would raise fines on employers that endanger workers

work safety

New York lawmakers pre-filed a bill to be introduced Wednesday that calls for stiffer penalties for employers that endanger the welfare of workers.

S.B. 621 would establish higher fines for corporations that commit crimes that result in the death or injury of a worker. Fines for misdemeanor convictions for endangering the welfare of a worker would increase from $10,000 to up to $500,000. The bill would also outline what is classified as endangering the welfare of a worker in the first, second and third-degree.

Several workers compensation-related bills were also pre-filed.

S.B. 1023 would modify the circumstances in which an injured worker may be reclassified as permanently totally disabled due to extreme hardship. The legislation would reduce the threshold of a workers’ income from Social Security and disability benefits to 50% of the worker’s average weekly wage upon termination of permanent partial disability benefits to receive total disability from 75%. The legislation would also allow injured workers who prove they are unable to meet expenses or those whose disability erodes their wage-earning capacity to be reclassified.

S.B. 946 would amend state workers compensation law to cap attorney fees based on the workers comp award to the injured worker if the attorney engages in dilatory tactics or fails to comply with New York Workers Compensation Board rules.

A.B. 732 would presume that an injured worker who has not refused an offer of reemployment from his or her employer has not voluntarily withdrawn from the labor market for compensation purposes.

If signed into law, the bills would take effect immediately.