Gov. Rauner and Reformers Call for Stricter Causation Standards

One of the open issues facing the Illinois General Assembly is the need for real workers’ compensation reform. HB 4223, legislation sponsored by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin with the full support of Governor Rauner, contains changes in causation standards that could help eliminate Illinois’ status as one of the top 10 U.S. states with the highest workers’ compensation insurance costs in the country. Most employers are required to purchase workers’ comp insurance for their employees as a legal mandate on the employer-employee relationship.

The insurance premiums are not only tied to the actuarial danger of each workplace, but to each state’s underlying laws that impose burdens on the workers’ comp system. States characterized as more burdensome, such as Illinois, see higher workers’ comp insurance rates. As workers’ comp premiums are a mandated add-on to the cost of each employee headcount position, any increase in the cost of workers’ comp insurance will reduce the number of Illinois jobs created and maintained.

Illinois’ unemployment rate is 6.0 percent as of April 2015, higher than the national unemployment rate of 5.4 percent. Illinois job creators are placing increasing pressure on the General Assembly to enact real workers’ compensation reform. As of Friday, June 12, however, the workers’ comp reform bill (HB 4223) remained bottled up in the Madigan-controlled House Rules Committee.