Workers’ Compensation Explained at BEAR Meeting

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Anita Watson from the State of Utah Labor Commission informed Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) members about workers’ compensation on Thursday.

According to Watson, workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system established by the Utah Legislature in 1917. It pays medical expenses and helps offset lost wages for employees with work-related injuries or illnesses. All employers with employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Employee benefits under workers’ compensation include:

  • all medical bills (reasonable and necessary)
  • wage replacement for time lost from work due to work-related injury or illness
  • mileage for authorized medical care
  • temporary total disability (state weekly maximum is $749, $45 is the minimum)
  • permanent partial impairment
  • permanent total disability
  • burial, spousal and dependent benefits in the case of death
  • part-time employees working less than 20 hours are paid for 20 hours when injured per Utah law

Watson also spoke about the workers’ compensation bill that has expanded coverage for firefighters. In the 2015 Utah legislative session, a bill passed that modifies the Utah Occupational Disease Act to address coverage for firefighters. The bill states that if a firefighter contracts a presumptive cancer, for example cancer of the pharynx, lung or esophagus, the cancer can be presumed to have contracted in the course of employment if not contracted by the willful act of a firefighter, such as the act of smoking.

For more information about workers’ compensation, please visit laborcommission.utah.gov. The State of Utah Labor Commission can also be contacted at (801) 530-6800 or toll free at (800) 530-5090 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The next BEAR meeting on May 28 will feature Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood. Sheriff Wood will be discussing the direction and focus of sheriff’s office.

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