Calif. Workers' comp plan still divisive

By Gilbert Chan, Staff Writer
The Sacramento Bee
April 19, 2006

Two years after becoming law, California's landmark workers' compensation overhaul continues to draw fire from injured workers while drawing rave reviews from employers.

Business groups and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plan to mark SB 899's anniversary today by touting more than $8 billion in savings generated by the sweeping changes.

Critics are using the occasion to argue the savings have come at the expense of severely injured workers and press for further changes. They cite studies showing permanent disability benefits have been cut by about 50 percent because of rules implemented in 2005.

They also fear a two-year cap on temporary disability payments could put a financial squeeze on injured workers still waiting to resolve their cases. Overall, few dispute the law's financial impact.

A survey released Tuesday by the business-backed Workers' Compensation Action Network reported 68 percent of employers have reported a drop in workers' compensation costs. A quarter of those have seen costs drop by more than 25 percent.

Copyright © 2006 The Sacramento Bee

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