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Connecticut bill may cover home aide workers' compensation

Working as a home health aide is difficult work. Home health aides assist people who are elderly, ill, disabled or impaired. They help their clients with tasks of daily living, including physical tasks such as helping them stand or move. An injured worker may not be able to fully complete all of the tasks required of a home health aide.

Under current Connecticut law, a client who employs a home health aide worker directly for more than 26 hours a week must pay for workers' compensation coverage. If an aide who is employed directly by a client or who is paid through Medicaid for the direct hire works 25.75 hours or less, the client is not required to supply workers' compensation coverage. Therefore, if a part-time aide is injured on the job, that worker would not receive compensation for lost wages and injuries for such a workplace accident. Due to the cost to the client to supply workers' compensation coverage, some clients choose to employ more workers working less than 26 hours, rather than fewer workers working full time.

The new bill would change home health aide workers' ability to recover workers' compensation benefits by requiring Connecticut to pay workers' compensation costs for the members of the Service Employees International Union, even those working part-time. The SEIU local, which is pushing the passage of this bill, represents approximately 6,000 to 7,000 home health aides. Proponents of the bill argue that if the State covered workers' compensation costs, those costs would be much less than if individual clients had to cover the costs, as the state could provide coverage under a group policy.

If it passes, this new bill could provide much needed workers' compensation coverage to hard-working individuals who are injured on the job.

Source: Hartford Courant, "Bill offers workers' comp coverage for home health aides," Mara Lee, March 5, 2015

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