|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT:|
|November 22, 1996||Christine Baker|
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Health and
Safety and Workers' Compensation voted unanimously at its November
meeting to explore methods of identifying employers that are illegally
uninsured for workers' compensation and bring them into compliance.
An Issue Paper will be developed to address the problems associated
with uninsured employers and offer alternative methods for tracking
The Commission recognizes that employers that are not covered
for workers' compensation impose a burden on injured workers,
on employers who comply with the workers' compensation insurance
requirements, and on the state's taxpayers.
Employers who are insured for workers' compensation are placed
at a competitive disadvantage with respect to illegally uninsured
employers. Especially in industries with high premium rates, the
illegally uninsured employer is able to underbid the insured employer.
Taxpayers, including injured workers and employers, are disadvantaged
when taxes are raised to cover costs shifted to government services
to assist the injured workers of employers who are illegally uninsured.
In addition, regulations have made it increasingly more difficult
for injured workers to obtain benefits from the state-supported
Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF).
Several states, including Wisconsin and Colorado, have been using
proactive programs to identify uninsured employers using computerized
lists of employers and their workersÃ compensation policies.
These have proved very successful at bringing uncovered employers
Such activities in California could save UEF and state General
Fund monies, assist injured workers, and reduce the current competitive
disadvantage on responsible employers.
The Commission, created by the workers' compensation reform legislation
of 1993, is charged with overseeing the health and safety and
workers' compensation systems in California and recommending administrative
or legislative modifications to improve their operation. The Commission
was established to conduct a continuing examination of the workers'
compensation system and of the state's activities to prevent industrial
injuries and occupational diseases and to examine those programs
in other states.
Further information about the Commission and its activities can
be obtained by writing to Christine Baker, Executive Officer,
Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, 30
Van Ness Avenue, Suite 2122, San Francisco, CA 94102, by calling
(415) 557-1304, or by faxing a request to (415) 557-1385. Information
is also available through the Internet by accessing the Department
of Industrial Relations' home page at www.dir.ca.gov.