Ohio maintains workers comp protections for undocumented workers
Posted June 29, 2017 in Press Releases
The Ohio legislature voted yesterday to set aside a controversial provision in the Bureau of Workers Compensation budget bill (HB27) that would have put undocumented workers and those who work with them at risk.
Last month, the state House of Representatives passed the budget with an amendment that would have barred undocumented workers protection under workers’ comp if hurt on the job. Concerned Ohioans cried foul – pointing out the bill would encourage unscrupulous businesses to hire more undocumented workers, cut corners on safety, and put their whole workforce at increased risk of workplace injury. That would give lawbreakers a cost edge over by-the-book firms; expose well-meaning business-owners to potential lawsuits; and shift the cost of injury to taxpayers and hospitals.
Following widespread opposition, the Ohio Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee struck the measure last Tuesday from the Senate bill, but that left it up to both houses to decide which version would become law.
Yesterday the Senate passed its bill and the legislature chose the version that retains coverage for all workers regardless of immigration status.
“The legislature made the smart choice to preserve workers’ compensation protection for all workers,” said Michael Shields, a Policy Matters Ohio researcher who has followed the bill.