Bill puts worker’s comp rules in line with ILO
Workers injured on the job will get more compensation under legislation passed in the House of Assembly yesterday.
The amendment to the law increases the amount payable from a maximum of $170 a week to two-thirds of a person's earnings at the time they were injured.
Junior Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Ashfield DeVent told MPs as he presented the Workers' Compensation Amendment Act 2011: “To state that in 2011 this sum of $170 is grossly inadequate is to state the obvious.
“For many years all of the stakeholders have agreed that this amount had to be increased.”
He said the new way of calculating the compensation was in line with a recommendation from the International Labour Organization.
The Government MP said there were about 150 claims made for compensation each year in Bermuda. “The local insurance companies have opined that the proposal to pay two-thirds of the earnings of the injured workers at the time of the injury will result in an increase in premium,” he added.
“Insurers indicate that their prices are based on risk and those engaged in the provision of high risk services will inevitably be required to pay more. “Whilst increasing the cost of doing business is an unintended consequence of this proposal, it is believed workers who suffer an injury while on the job should be compensated appropriately.”
Shadow Transport Minister Charlie Swan said of the amendment: “It's probably something that's long overdue. Our side of the House has no disagreement with the implementation of these changes.”
PLP backbencher Randy Horton, a former Labour Minister, said it was time to raise the level of payment so that any worker totally or partially incapacitated through workplace-related injury or illness was “able to live a quality life”.
Transport Minister Terry Lister said those injured at work already had a difficult physical situation to deal with and didn't need further financial anxiety.
l Useful website: www.ilo.org