Introduces bill to expand options for those seeking work post-injury
LANSING, Mich. —Today, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint) announced legislation to restore opportunities for workers who are injured on the job by providing more options for getting back on track and lifting overly burdensome regulations.
“Michigan’s workers’ compensation system is unjust and often fails those who experience a work-related injury,” Sen. Ananich said. “Right now, workers often find themselves scrambling to find a new job immediately after their injury, or struggle with navigating the complicated bureaucracy of the current workers’ compensation structure. These are unfair and unnecessary hurdles to place in front of folks who are just trying to recover.”
Sen. Ananich’s legislation specifies that an employee must be deemed to have established proof of a good-faith job search if any of the following are met:
• The employee is still working where the injury occurred, and the employee has tried unsuccessfully to obtain other jobs with that employer;
• The employee applies for at least two jobs per week (this is consistent with Unemployment Insurance Agency requirements); or,
• The employee is working full-time in reasonable employment.
The bill also would excuse an employee from searching for work if they are disabled or if searching for a job poses a threat to their safety and health.
The bill is a necessary fix for Michigan workers due to Republican-driven changes made to Michigan’s Worker’s Compensation law eight years ago that were opposed by all legislative Democrats and some Republicans. Public Act 266 of 2011 removed the requirement of employers to offer reasonable alternative jobs to injured workers, and instead saddled workers with the responsibility of searching for employment entirely on their own.
Sen. Ananich’s bill lightens the load for workers who are already down on their luck. “Michigan has the best workforce in the world, so when employees get hurt on the job, we should be doing everything we can to make the compensation system work for them, not against them, and that’s what my bill does,” Sen. Ananich said.
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