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Bill Passed by Legislature Would Increase Minimum Compensation Rate to 1/5 of State AWW

The New York State Legislature continues to pass workers’ compensation reform bills, the latest of which would amend WCL §15(6) to increase the minimum compensation rate to one fifth of the state average weekly wage for all dates of injury after the effective date of the amendment. The bill, S8271/A7178, passed both the Senate and the Assembly in early June and now needs only Governor Hochul’s signature to become law. Like the legislation defining temporary total disability we discussed in our last issue, this bill (as of this writing) has still not been delivered to the governor.

The legislation is undoubtedly a win for lower wage workers who will benefit from the higher minimum compensation rate. Undoubtedly, this will also increase workers’ compensation insurance premiums as well as costs for self-insured employers. The current minimum compensation rate is $150.00 per week. The state average weekly wage of 2021 was $1,688.19, meaning that under this legislation, the minimum compensation rate would be increased to $337.64. Those claimants whose weekly wages are less than or equal to the minimum rate will receive their full wages.

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