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New York workers' compensation to be overhauled

The second of a proposed three meetings of the Workers' Compensation Board took place in Syracuse on Dec. 2, with an eye toward revamping systems in place for workers attempting to take advantage of services afforded them. The New York Workers' Compensation Board is in the process of overhauling existing systems to meet the growing needs of injured workers who rely on their services. As part of this overhaul, the three meeting sessions have been opened to injured workers to express their complaints and needs.

One of the major points brought up in these sessions is the need for outreach to immigrant workers, who are often unaware that workers' compensation even exists. It has been suggested that a more visible presence by the board might help raise awareness in communities where injured workers are not taking advantage of the rights and resources to which they are entitled. The issue of equal access to the support offered by workers' compensation is of primary importance to the board.

Also of concern is the fact that some immigrants who are aware of workers' compensation have been fired from their positions for seeking out services, an issue the board seeks to address. It has been suggested that imposing harsher penalties on employers who follow this practice, as well as engaging more board resources to track these issues, would benefit immigrant workers in the long run. Generally speaking the board hopes to improve services for workers across New York State over the next several years.

New York workers' compensation is a vital part of what keeps this state's industries running with efficiency. Every worker is entitled to seek support through these services, and should be made aware of their rights under state law. The efforts of the board to improve services will doubtless include expanding awareness of the services available to injured parties.

Source: wrvo.org, Workers' Compensation Board hosts meetings to help improve services, Ellen Abbott, Dec. 3, 2013

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