The Oregon Senate unanimously approved expanded workers’ compensation for those needing on-the-job-injury-related medical or physical therapy (PT) appointments. In addition, SB 418 closes a gap in the current law that causes employees to use their vacation or sick time for related medical treatment.
According to a press release, compensation claims are only paid under the current statute if the person misses more than four hours. As a result, workers were forced to use their vacation or sick pay benefit time. Sometimes, they have had to skip appointments altogether because they cannot afford to miss work without compensation.
However, SB 418 removes the minimum time injured workers must be absent for compensable medical services.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Dist. 25), said: “This is a simple fix that will make people’s lives easier and help workers injured on the job get the care they need.”
SB 418 will have a minimal fiscal impact. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Oregon Workers’ Comp. Stats
According to the 2021 Department of Consumer and Business Services report, Oregon Workers’ Compensation claims increased slightly.
In 2021, the rate of accepted disabling claims was 1.3 out of 100 employees in Oregon. In 2020, that number was 1.2 after a decade of the rate holding at 1.1.
Fatality numbers vary dramatically yearly. For example, in 2021, 44 claims were filed, or 2.3 for every 100,000 employees; in 2020, 34 claims, or 1.8; and in 2019, 41 claims, or 2.1.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Oregon State Legislature: 2023 Regular Session SB418 (pdf)
Department of Consumer and Business Services: Workers’ Compensation Claims