House Bill 1182 – Worker’s Compensation
Author: Rep Matt Lehman (R-Berne)

Provides for worker’s compensation purposes that an employee who leaves work to serve as a volunteer firefighter or member of a volunteer emergency medical services association is considered an employee of the firefighting unit while in the performance of duties as a volunteer firefighter or volunteer member. Increases the maximum amount of burial expenses that an employer must pay under the worker’s compensation act for the burial expenses of a covered employee who dies from an injury by an accident arising out of the employee’s employment from $7,500 to $12,500.

Chamber Position: Support

The Latest: Amended, then passed by the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee 9-0 on Wednesday.

Chamber Action/Commentary: Prior to this week’s hearing, the Chamber (and the Indiana Manufacturers Association) communicated to committee chairman Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) that a burial expense benefit of $10,000 would be preferred.

During the hearing, Sen. Boots stated his belief that the average cost of funeral expenses to be around $10,000, as indicated in research and advertisements. The Chamber had signed up to testify but the chairman forgot to allow the testimony and passed the bill unanimously, including with it the change to lower the burial amount to $10,000. The measure moves to the full Senate and is expected to pass without too much difficulty.

Since the bill was amended, it will not go directly to the Governor for his signature upon Senate passage.  This also gives the author, Rep. Lehman, another vehicle to consider related areas. One to keep an eye on is SB 358, which contains a 2% worker’s comp benefit increase but no employer incentives or benefits. It’s very possible that measure will die and any additional changes to worker’s comp will be made in HB 1182.

Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: [email protected]