Wednesday, February 18, 2009

South Carolina Has a Very Bad Idea

Legislators in South Carolina have come up with a truly bad idea. They are proposing to reduce the Workers Compensation benefits for illegal aliens. While the bill would still have the WC system pay for medical costs for injured illegals, it would deny them disability payments.

"I think the attempt is to punish a company that hires illegal aliens," said Senator Brad Hutto. But it wouldn't punish them, it would reward them.

By making serious claims less expensive if they happen to illegal immigrants, the bill would reward such employers by reducing future experience modification factors (and thus reducing future Workers Compensation insurance premiums.) It would penalize those employers who don't hire illegals because their Workers Comp insurance would not be so reduced, all other things being equal.

Perhaps even worse, it would reduce the financial incentive for employers who maintain safe workplaces. If the financial impact of workplace injuries is lower if you hire illegals, it reduces the incentive to avoid such injuries. That eventually leads to more dangerous work environments at employers who hire illegals--more dangerous for the illegals, and for those who work alongside them.

All in all, a very bad idea.