|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT:|
|April 19, 2001||Christine Baker|
Commission Approves Report on Permanent Disability at Private, Self-Insured Firms
SAN FRANCISCO At its meeting on April 19, 2001 in San Francisco, the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC) voted to approve the latest report resulting from the Commissions extensive, ongoing study of permanent disability. This report completes that portion of the study that estimated the wage losses of workers with permanent disability claims.
"Permanent Disability at Private, Self-Insured Firms" was developed by the Rand organization under contract with the Commission. The report describes the Commissions study of wage loss, replacement, and return to work for workers compensation claimants of private-sector self-insured employers in California. "Wage Loss" is the difference between what an injured worker actually earned for several years following the injury and what the worker would have earned had the injury not occurred.
Major findings from this study include:
Permanent partial disability claimants at private, self-insured employers from 1991 through 1995 experienced significant earnings losses over the first five years after injury.
After injury, PPD claimants at self-insured firms were more likely to continue to work, less likely to drop out of the labor force or retire, and if they remained employed were more likely to work at the at-injury employer that their counterparts at insured firms.
Due to improved return to work, injured workers at self-insured firms experienced a lower proportion of earnings lost than did injured workers at insured firms.
On average, because workers at self-insured firms have higher wages, they are more likely to have weekly wages that exceed the maximum temporary disability indemnity payment. Consequently, workers compensation benefits replaced a smaller fraction of losses at self-insured firms (48 percent) than at insured firms (53 percent).
At both insured and self-insured firms, replacement rates were very low for workers with the indemnity claims (those with the least serious injuries). At the self-insured firms, claimants with total indemnity falling below the 20th percentile had 14 percent of their lost earnings replaced by benefits; at insured firms, the replacement rate was 11 percent.
The Commission 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.
The report is available at the Commission's website at www.dir.ca.gov/CHSWC/chswc.html. The report may also be obtained by writing to Christine Baker, Executive Officer, Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102, by calling (415) 703-4220, or by faxing a request to (415) 703-4234.