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May 23, 2016

What do I need to know about the newly passed Workers’ Comp Bill?

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Posted in Wisconsin Workers Compensation Related News

Wisconsin Act 180

Assembly Bill 724 became law on March 1st, 2016. Governor Scott Walker signed the bill on February 29th, as discussed in a recent blog post. With the exception of two provisions that will take effect this July, all other provisions were effective as of March 2nd. The new law, Wisconsin Act 180, makes several changes to the worker’s compensation system. These changes only effect injured workers that sustained a traumatic injury on or after March 2nd, 2016. Any individual that sustained a traumatic injury prior to March 2nd, 2016 is NOT subject to the new Act/Law discussed below.

But what do these changes really mean for injured workers?

Overview of Key Changes

These changes, or amendments, cover a range of issues, from a shift in the weekly permanent disability rate, to decreasing the statute of limitations or the time an employee has to report an injury in the workplace, to not recovering benefits when an employee violates an employer’s drug and/or alcohol policy. Below are brief descriptions of the key changes to the worker’s comp system:

Amendment 3: PPD Rate

The maximum weekly permanent partial disability (PPD) rate will increase $20.00 in 2016 to $342 and $20.00 in 2017 to $362.

Amendment 7: Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for traumatic injuries will be reduced from 12 to 6 years.

Amendment 8: PPD Apportionment

An employee who claims a work-related injury shall upon request disclose all previous permanent disabilities or physical impairments, and the records needed to make an apportionment determination.

Amendment 9: Prospective Orders for Retraining

Administrative law judges will have the authority to issue prospective orders for vocational rehabilitation retraining benefits for future courses of instruction or training.

Amendment 19: Discharge or Suspension for Misconduct

Temporary disability will be denied when an employee is released to light duty work and is suspended or terminated due to misconduct.

Amendment 22: Violation of Employer’s Alcohol/Drug Policy

There shall be no recovery of benefits when the employee violates the employer’s drug and/or alcohol policy and where there is direct causation between violation of the drug and/or alcohol policy and the workplace injury.

Be sure to check out our forthcoming blog posts where we will focus in on each of these key changes. If you have any questions about these amendments, please contact us today.

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