Kansas Business and Labor Groups Support Comprehensive Reforms to State Workers Compensation System

Date: February 01, 2024

Kansas business and labor organizations on Thursday spoke in favor of proposed comprehensive reforms to the state's workers compensation system that they worked together to draft.

TOPEKA (Feb. 1, 2024) – Kansas business and labor organizations on Thursday spoke in favor of proposed comprehensive reforms to the state’s workers compensation system that they worked together to draft.

Representatives from the Kansas Chamber, the Kansas Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Kansas Self-Insurers Association (KSIA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (KTLA), and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) met through the summer of 2023 to find compromise on changes to the system for both the employer and the injured worker that could be presented to the Kansas Legislature.

“Compromise can be difficult to reach. But when opposing sides take the time to listen to one another, agreement can be found that serves all involved parties well. The Kansas Chamber truly appreciates working with all involved organizations to reach this compromise,” said Kansas Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb. “Similar to negotiated reforms passed in 2011, Senate Bill 430 proposes several significant changes to safeguard the protection of injured workers and employers by ensuring that legitimate claims are compensated, and injuries never intended to be served by the system are not.”

Workers’ compensation is a unique, no-fault system of protection offered by employers to employees through statutory guidelines established by the state.

“SB 430 represents an important compromise between business and labor that both streamlines the system while balancing the needs of both workers and employers,” said SHRM Executive Director Natalie Bright. “This bill will ensure the integrity of our no-fault workers compensation system and truly represents a compromise between all parties impacted by the system.”

The Kansas Senate Committee on Commerce and the Kansas House of Representatives Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development on Thursday held a joint informational hearing on SB 430.

“We want to thank Chair Erickson and Chair Tarwater for their attention to the issue and for their efforts and encouragement in crafting a solution fair to both injured workers and to business owners,” said Kansas AFL-CIO Representative Jan L. Fisher. “We also appreciate the efforts for Kansas Department of Labor Workers Compensation Director Jeff King and the KDOL Division of Workers Compensation to encourage compromise and pushing the process forward to completion.”

“SB 430 modifies current worker’s compensation law in several ways creating a fairer and more efficient workers compensation system,” said KTLA Workers Compensation Section Chair Jeff Cooper. “We believe the bill makes the worker’s compensation system more fair and better for all parties in the State of Kansas.”

Among the reforms, the bill proposes increases to caps for injured workers and the addition of a Cost-of-Living Adjustment to caps beginning July 1, 2027. The compromise also addresses the injured worker’s need of future medical treatments. Adjustments to when notices of injury are required and how medical records are allowed to be admitted into evidence also are included in the proposed bill.

“Kansas leads the nation in workers’ compensation climate and these comprehensive reforms will ensure our status for generations to come,” NFIB State Director Dan Murray said. “By curbing abuse, these proposals will protect small business owners from potentially nuclear court decisions that could upend our current system. Maintaining the integrity of our workers’ compensation system is critical to our state’s economic competitiveness and we urge lawmakers to pass these common-sense solutions.”

The business and labor groups involved with the negotiations urged the Kansas Legislature to pass SB 430 as written.

“This compromise between industries and labor addresses many issues and improves the process for both the injured worker and employer, ” said Travelers Managing Attorney and KSIA Board Member Tony Andersen. “We hope this proposed legislation is approved without any changes. All involved made a concerted effort to address the vexing problems in the current workers’ comp system.”


CLICK HERE to read more about the bill.

The written testimony submitted to the committees:

Kansas Trial Lawyers Association Testimony

Kansas AFL-CIO Testimony

Coalition of Kansas Chamber, NFIB, KS SHRM, KSIA, and others Testimony

Contact Information:

Sherriene Jones-Sontag
Kansas Chamber

Natalie S. Bright
Kansas SHRM

Jan L. Fisher
Kansas AFL-CIO

Jeff Cooper
Kansas Trial Lawyers Association

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