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gress assumed the responsibility for determining adequacy of compensation of injury in the employment situation against the jury's opinion of damages due to negligence.
The very purposes of workmen's compensation offer the Congress certain guidelines. For example, workmen's compensation was not intended as, nor is it, a relief program. The Congress, by providing rehabilitation benefits, has clearly indicated that it believes that whenever possible an injured worker should be restored to his greatest personal capacity to produce.
Again I wish to stress that the Congress of the United States in the case of injured Government employees with dependents or survivors in case of death has said the maximum benefit amount shall be 75 percent of average monthly earnings not to exceed a maximum of $313 per week. This law covers approximately 220,000 Government employees in the District of Columbia.
In comparison, the bill your committee is considering covers approximately 300,000 District of Columbia employees in private employment and would establish a maximum of $105. The proposed increase in the average weekly wage used for comput
. ing death benefits—both minimum and maximum is a modest increment. But, it does reflect an attempt to provide adequate compensation to a deceased worker's family.
The proposed increase in the maximum benefit from 6623 percent to 75 percent of the worker's average weekly wage but not to exceed the statutory maximum is also a step in the right direction.
We feel the proposed amendments increasing the benefits for a surviving spouse with children will help to maintain the family as a unit and reduce any need the family might have to request assistance from other public programs in order to survive.
The proposed increases in survivor and dependent benefit would if enacted assist in achieving the objective of insuring the self-sufficiency of the survivor's family, but even more could be done at a very small cost.
The weekly death benefit amount under the present and proposed law is lower than the benefit amount in disability cases, especially in cases where there is only a surviving spouse, or a surviving spouse and one child. Additional improvements could be made in the amount of death benefits at very little increase in cost, because of the small number of cases involved-only 0.2 percent of all compensable cases.
There are a number of other provisions in S. 2485 that we hope will receive favorable consideration by your committee.
Every responsible element of our society favors the removal of existing obstacles that interfere with the employment of handicapped workers. We feel therefore that the proposed amendment to limit the employer's liability in second injury cases, and to pay continuing benefits from a second injury fund, should receive favorable consideration by your committee. We also favor the bill's provision for improvement in the financial structure if the second iniury funds should receive favorable consideration.
S. 2485 also contains an amendment that would increase by 814, percent for workers with dependents the basic benefit in cases of permanent total disability. temporary total disability, and scheduled awards for permanent partial disability.
The 81/3-percent increase would also apply to the continuing benefits based on the loss of wage earning capacity of workers determined to have sustained a permanent partial disability. This amendment merits your support because it would remedy, to some degree, the problem of wage loss and lost wage earning capacity of injured workers with families.
Another desirable provision of S. 2485 would extend to age 23 the age at which surviving dependents attending school may continue to receive compensation payments. The present law, limits these benefits to age 18. Today, children are constantly urged to continue their education as long as possible, and, with the increasing number of children continuing their education into college, the 18 years of age limit is unnecessarily restrictive.
The extension of time for filing notice of injury or death and for filing a claim in cases of injury or death are reasonable, and they will afford an increased measure of protection to injured workers and their beneficiaries.
We also support the amendment to permit the deputy commissioner to charge the carrier for costs related to second examinations, and the amendment that would add the fees for legal and other services to the amount of compensation payable in cases where an award is made or increased after payment under the act is resisted.
Another provision of S. 2485 that we urge you to consider favorably would amend the definition of disfigurement to include head, face, neck, or other normally exposed areas of the body. Some individuals or groups may question whether disfigurement would impede a longshoremen's opportunity for employment.
It may not, but it could. However, the act covers many other groups of workers, and they, along with longshoremen, may work at occupations in which appearance is a factor of employability. This would certainly be a factor in many of the service occupations in private industry in the District of Columbia.
Although we support the major provisions in this bill, and we are not opposed to including the provision prorating the administrative costs of the act, we are opposed to the imposition of safety program user charges at this time, because of the weakening impact it might have on safety programs which have already been undertaken by various employers.
We also feel that safety in the industries covered by this act is a public problem and the costs of the safety program should be financed with public funds.
Despite this reservation we do support the main objectives of this bill although, as we have indicated, we hope the committee will consider improving upon it. We hope the committee will report favorably on it so that the workers covered by the provisions of this act, and their families, can receive workmen's compensation protection commensurate with the economic and social advances of our society.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator YARBOROUGH. Thank you very much for your statement. We will order all the appendixes to your statement printed at this point in the record.
(The information referred to follow :)
WASHINGTON BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL---WAGE RATES, WASHINGTON AND VICINITY, NCV. 1, 1967
Wage and increase in dollars)
APPENDIX I-Continued WASHINGTON BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL-WAGE RATES, WASHINGTON AND VICINITY, NOV. 1, 1967-Continued
(Wage and increase in dollars)
Tile and terrazzo...
Health and welfare, 15 cents an hour; pen
sion, 25 cents an hour. Pension, 20 cents an hour; health and welfare, $23.70 monthly.
WASHINGTON BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL-WAGE RATES, WASHINGTON AND VICINITY, NOV. 1, 1967-Continued
Wage and increase in dollars)
OPERATIONS UNDER THE LONGSHOREMEN'S AND HARBOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT, AND EXTENSIONS
THEREOF, JULY 1, 1962, TO JUNE 30, 1967
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Employees Compensation, September 1967.
SELECTED UNION NEGOTIATED WAGE RATES IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Sept. 30, July 1, Sept. 14,
1967 1968 1968
Apr. 1, 1969
Hotel supply house wage rates: Journeyman meat
cutter and boner.. Assistant manager: Safeway Stores, Inc.:
Assigned prior to Mar. 1, 1964
Assigned after Mar. 1, 1964. Grand Union Co.:
Assigned prior to Mar. 1, 1964.
Assigned after Feb. 29, 1964
1 Agreement between Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Allied Workers of North America, AFL-CIO, and Safeway Stores, Inc., Giant Foods., Inc., Food Fair Stores, Inc., the Grand Union Co., Acme Markets, Inc., the Kroger Co., Consumers Discount, Inc.