Chamber-backed fix to stop workers’ compensation double dipping passes Senate
A bill to offset temporary total disability (TTD) benefits for light duty work and encourage employees to get back to work after an injury passed the state Senate with a 24-9 vote Friday.
When an employee is injured while at work, Kentucky law provides a mechanism for wage replacement, TTD, while the injured worker heals. TTD is owed to an employee who has not reached maximum medical improvement or has not reached a level of improvement that would permit a return to work.
In some situations, an injured worker may be released by his/her physician to return to their employment to perform light duty work. The injured worker may still be entitled to TTD in these situations if they have not yet reached maximum medical improvement, however, they will also likely earn concurrent wages from their employer. As in every case involving light duty work, the employee has the option whether to return to work or continue drawing benefits.
Senate Bill 151 sponsor Sen. Steve West pointed to a Kentucky Supreme Court case involving Quad Graphics where an employer was made to pay TTD payments despite paying the full salary of an employee who had returned to work on light duty. After hearing from many in the business community, the Kentucky Chamber has worked closely with a coalition, including the Kentucky League Cities, to remedy the problem.
In a committee hearing on the bill, Sen. West said this court decision points to a flaw in the state’s current law that should be fixed to ensure fairness in that an injured worker does not receive a double recovery when they return to work.
Senate Bill 151 now heads to the House to be heard in committee.