Legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year to help Missouri employers control their workers’ compensation insurance rates while ensuring injured workers receive the treatment they need to recover and return to the workforce is set to become law on August 28. July 15th was the final day for Governor Jay Nixon to act on legislation approved in this year’s legislative session, and he allowed Senate Bill 700 to become law without his signature or his veto. Senate Bill 700 passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, with no dissenting votes in the Missouri Senate.
The bill allows an employer, particularly a construction contractor, to pay up to 20 percent of an injured worker’s medical expenses if the injury does not require more than three days of lost time from the job. Otherwise, the medical costs are covered under workers’ compensation insurance.
“This legislation provides employers in the state’s construction industry with another tool to use in helping contain their workers’ compensation costs,” said SITE Improvement Association Executive Director Terry Briggs. “In the competitive construction industry, every dollar saved helps.”
Senate Bill 700 was SITE’s top legislative priority in this session of the general assembly. SITE helped lobby to get this bill approved. Senator Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, sponsored Senate Bill 700. Why is this legislation so important?
“Every time an injury claim is filed under workers’ compensation, it affects the employer’s experience modification (MOD) rating,” said Briggs. “The MOD is used by workers’ comp insurance companies to establish an employer’s premiums for insurance. The higher rating, the costlier the insurance will be. It also is used by some purchasers of construction services, such as owners, to determine whether or not they want to allow a contractor to bid on their work. A lower MOD rating can help a contractor be eligible to bid and perform work on construction projects that they otherwise would not be able to do if their mod rating was high.”
Briggs noted that S.B. 700 contains many safeguards to ensure the injured employee receives the necessary medical care to recover from the injury. In addition, employers must continue to report such incidents to the state so that workplace injuries are tracked.
Other features of the bill include:
- Allowing a contractor to pick the calendar year quarter in which to base the contractors’ premium adjustment credit. Current law restricts contractors to only use the third quarter of the calendar year to base their credit;
- Allowing volunteer fire protection associations to apply for grants from the State Fire Marshall’s Office to help them offset some of their workers’ compensation costs. The amount of funds available for grants is subject to legislative appropriations. Once the appropriated funds run out, no more grants are available.
SITE is an independent construction contractor group representing more than 165 contractors and businesses primarily in the concrete, earthmoving, landscaping, asphalt paving, highway/bridge, sewer/utility and specialty construction segments. It represents the interests of its members in negotiations with labor unions, promotes political and legislative agendas and provides safety and technical training for members. SITE is celebrating 50 years of continuous operation in 2016. For more information, visit www.sitestl.org.