Workers' Compensation


Payments to minors or incapacitated persons. Increases from $300 to $10,000 the amount of compensation payments which may be made to the parent or guardian of a minor. The bill also increases from $300 to $10,000 the amount over which the payments shall be made to a guardian or conservator of a minor or an incapacitated adult.
Patron - Murphy

Receipt of notice or awards; rehearing. Modifies provisions governing the deadline for receipt by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission of an application for Commission review of a Deputy Commissioner's award. Under current law, such an application must be made within 20 days of the date of the award. This bill computes the 20-day period from the date the parties receive their notice of the award by registered or certified mail, as currently required by § 65.2-704.
Patron - Murphy

Requirement to provide copies of medical reports. Amends Virginia Workers' Compensation Act to permit a representative of (i) an injured employee, (ii) the employer, or (iii) the insurer to request and receive medical reports from any physician attending an injured employee.
Patron - Abbitt

Notice. Requires the Workers' Compensation Commission in all proceedings in connection with awards to provide copies of any written notice, opinion, order or award regarding a specific case to the employee, the employer and the compensation carrier, and, if represented, their counsel, at the same time and in the same manner.
Patron - Sherwood

Burial expenses. Increases, from $5,000 to $10,000, the maximum burial expenses an employer may be required to pay for a deceased worker. The bill also increases, from $500 to $1,000, the amount of reasonable transportation expenses an employer may be required to pay for the deceased.
Patron - Stump

Uninsured Employer's Fund; payment of tax. Increases the maximum premium tax for the uninsured and self-insured employer fund. Under current law, the Workers' Compensation Commission may not assess premium tax for this fund in excess of one-quarter of one percent. This bill establishes one-half of one percent as the ceiling for this tax, a rate that will revert to one-quarter of one percent on January 1, 2000. The bill also directs the Commission to conduct a study of the uninsured employee's fund focused on: (i) the fund's revenue needs, (ii) administration of claims, and (iii) oversight of self-insured employees. The Commission will report its study results to Senate Commerce and Labor and the House Labor and Commerce Committees by December 1, 1998. The bill has an emergency clause and will become effective immediately upon enactment.
Patron - Colgan

Business licenses; workers' compensation coverage required. Prohibits localities from issuing or reissuing a business license to any contractor who (i) has not obtained or is not maintaining workers' compensation coverage for his employees and (ii) at the time of application for business license issuance or reissuance, is required to obtain or maintain such coverage. The bill also requires localities to require contractors seeking business licenses to provide written certification of their (i) compliance with the provisions of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act governing the requirements of workers' compensation coverage and (ii) obligation to remain in compliance with the Act's provision during the effective period of any such licenses. False certifications are punishable as Class 3 misdemeanors. Finally, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission is required to conduct periodic audits of selected contractors to whom business licenses have been issued to ensure the contractors' compliance with the requirements of this law.
Patron - Williams

Duty to furnish medical attention. Removes wheelchairs from a provision of the Workers' Compensation Act limiting reimbursement for specified medical equipment and modifications to an aggregate cost of $25,000 for any one accident. Wheelchairs, walkers, canes or crutches would be furnished, fitted, and maintained by the employer as the nature of the injury may require, and not subject to the $25,000 lifetime cap. This bill also requires that employers provide prosthetic or orthotic appliances, proper fitting and maintenance, and training in the use of the appliance when an accident results in the loss of use of an arm, hand, leg or foot. Under current law, such appliances, maintenance, and training are only required when an accident results in amputation of an arm, hand, leg, or foot.
Patron - Reasor

Voluntary payments. Allows employers, when making workers' compensation benefit payments, to deduct from the payments any voluntary payments which were not due and payable. Current law allows deducting the voluntary payments by shortening the time period during which benefits are paid to the injured employee. This bill allows the weekly benefits to be reduced by an amount not to exceed one-fourth of the amount of the compensation for as long as necessary for the employer to recover his voluntary payment.
Patron - Holland


When compensation not allowed for injury or death; burden of proof. Requires employers to prove compliance with their statutory duties and rules and regulations whenever asserting a defense of employee misconduct in a workers' compensation case.
Patron - Cranwell

Agreement to compensation. Requires the Workers' Compensation Commission (the Commission) to approve all memorandums of agreement when all parties are represented by counsel. If one or more parties are not represented by a licensed attorney, the Commission shall review and approve the memorandum of agreement if the agreement is fair and reasonable to all parties. Current law requires the Commission to review all agreements and approve only when the Commission is clearly of the opinion that the best interests of the employee or his dependents will be served by the agreement. The bill also removes the requirement that employers file memorandums of agreement with the Commission within 14 days of its written execution.
Patron - Sherwood

Public employee retirement. Declares that neither the application for nor the receipt of specified retirement allowances by public employees (including disability retirement) pursuant to the provisions of law governing the Virginia Retirement System, the State Police Officers' Retirement System, or local retirement systems (governing retirements for police officers employed by localities) may be construed as waiving or terminating any claim for workers' compensation benefits.
Patron - McEachin

Discounts for drug-free workplace programs. Establishes drug-free workplace standards for employers seeking to qualify for workers' compensation insurance premium reductions related to drug-free workplace programs. Included in the standards are requirements that employers (i) have written substance abuse policies, and distribute them to their employees; (ii) provide each employee one hour of substance abuse training each year; (iii) require pre-employment, post-accident, and random drug testing; and (iv) utilize Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)-certified laboratories and follow SAMHSA guidelines for specimen collection. Employers must also annually furnish their workers' compensation insurers (i) copies of their substance abuse policies and (ii) annual summaries of their drug testing program results. The bill stipulates that insurers may not issue drug-free workplace premium credits unless employers meet these requirements.
Patron - Jackson