Thursday, July 31, 2014

North Carolina Avoids Rewarding Employers Of Undocumented Workers (For Now)

North Carolina has stripped out a provision of a recent bill that would have precluded Workers Compensation benefits for undocumented workers. But, they promise, they will take up the idea at some future legislative gathering.

Sigh. So the bad penny of Workers Compensation law may yet return again. Because if undocumented workers are prohibited from actually being compensated when they are maimed or other injured at work, it means that those employers who hire them would get a big advantage over employers who employ legal workers.

If undocumented workers can't get compensated under the law, this means the experience modification factor for employers who hire them will end up significantly lower than the mods for law-abiding competitors. After all, if the worker who loses some fingers, or a hand, or has a should go out, can't actually make a claim, there's nothing to report for the experience modifier. So this ill-conceived "reform" would actually create a significant financial incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers.

Not exactly what the legislators of North Carolina likely had in mind. I suspect the sponsors of this provision were mainly interested in making sure that desperate people could more easily be exploited and injured by employers without financial consequence to those employers, and at the same time provide a convenient platform for political grandstanding and fundraising.

South Carolina also recently considered, and then abandoned, such a change in their law. But the idea keeps cropping up, and some benighted states have actually enacted such restrictions.

Given the current state of our politics, and the desire by certain lawmakers to curry favor with the most fanatic of our nativist crusaders, I am sure this idea will keep coming up for consideration. And if and when enacted, it will be an object lesson in unintended consequences, by rewarding employers who hire undocumented workers with financial gain.

As for all those shorn fingers, mangled toes, blown-out shoulders and backs of undocumented workers, well, that's really not the concern of certain politicians and their allies. They don't allow blood and body parts on the floors of most state legislatures, it might upset the delicate digestions of the lawmakers.

1 comment:

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