As regular readers know, the Ohio House and Senate are currently at odds regarding provisions contained within the most recent budget bill. The Senate rejected the bill passed in the House, and a stopgap spending measure was approved, funding the BWC through July 30, 2019. I addressed two controversial provisions in the House bill in prior posts: PTSD Claims for First Responders: Opening Pandora’s Box; Should the Ohio BWC Be Collecting Citizenship Information on a First Report of Injury?. There are several other issues contained in the House bill I should touch on as well. The House bill would:
-address the Supreme Court’s recent ruling regarding voluntary abandonment in the Klein case (see “If you quit your job, you can forget about Temporary Total Disability Compensation no matter what” says the Ohio Supreme Court), and provide that an employee is entitled to temporary total disability, permanent total disability or wage loss compensation unless the employee is not working or has suffered a wage loss “as a direct result of something other than a disability arising from an injury or occupational disease.”
-require that applications for additional compensation for alleged violations of specific safety requirements be filed within one year of the date of injury, as opposed to the current two year limitation.
-prohibit employers from requiring an employee to forgo employment with the company as a condition of a settlement. It would also prohibit state fund employers from objecting to a settlement offer once the claim is outside of their risk experience.
-require that if an employee’s TTD compensation is offset by amounts paid as sick leave the employer must reimburse the employee for the amount of the offset.
-require that the employer or the BWC pay for diagnostic services for corrections officers who come into contact with the bodily fluids of another person in the course of their employment. Such testing is already required for firefighters and emergency medical workers.
-alter the rules regarding the Industrial Commission’s continuing jurisdiction. Currently, the Commission has no jurisdiction over claims in which there has been no compensation or medical bills paid in more than 5 years. The House bill would change the rules to make the provision of medical services, as opposed to the payment of the bill for services, the controlling date.
-change the definition of employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, and Ohio’s income tax. The changes would make Ohio’s definition of an employee for workers’ compensation purposes tied to the employer-employee relationship test used by the Internal Revenue Service.
I will keep you posted regarding further developments as they become available.