House Bill 1182 – Worker’s Compensation
Authored by Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne)

Would clarify who is responsible for worker’s compensation for volunteer firefighters. In cases currently where an employer supports an employee’s time off for volunteer firefighting through continued pay and other coverage, the employer may be considered responsible for any worker’s compensation.

Chamber Position: Support

The latest: Testimony was given in the House Employment Pension and Labor Committee on Tuesday; the bill was held with possible amendments and full vote next week.

Chamber Action/Commentary: The Chamber testified that the responsibility should be covered under the volunteer fire department’s worker’s compensation given the inherent risk that accompanies firefighting and not potentially be the responsibility of the person’s employer. We are supportive of this bill.

Representative Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo), the committee chair, is also considering a potential amendment to this bill that would increase burial expenses to $25,000 for an employee death while on the job. We agree with Rep. Lehman, the bill’s author, and would first like to see from the Indiana Comprehensive Rating Bureau what an increase in that amount would do to worker’s comp rates. The Chamber testified that a $10,000-$15,000 burial amount in such instances would be a more appropriate amount and we may be supportive of that.

This amendment is part one of a two-pronged effort this session by Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) in response to a tragic death of a young women in Allen County due to blatant disregard of safety procedures by her employer. The second element, contained in HB 1341, involves increasing the Indiana OSHA penalty to $100,000 in such a situation.

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