Business Q&A: Workers' comp reform offers employers options

Mike Lauderdale, a labor and employment attorney with McAfee & Taft, gives an overview of Oklahoma's new workers' comp system, which takes effect next year.
by Paula Burkes Published: May 8, 2013
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Q&A with Mike Lauderdale

New workers' compensation law

means changes for employers

Q: Senate Bill 1062, which was signed into law this week by Gov. Mary Fallin, makes sweeping changes to the state's workers' compensation system and the way claims for on-the-job injuries are handled. But doesn't it do more than just replace a court-based system with an administrative one?

A: Absolutely. The law still requires employers to provide workers' compensation coverage and benefits, but now they have two options outside the system.

Q: What are the other options for employers?

A: Qualified employers can opt out of the administrative system, provided they offer an employee benefit plan that offers the same or greater benefits for occupational injuries as those specified in the administrative act. Such plans can be fully insured or self-funded. In addition, private sector health and welfare plans that offer both occupational and nonoccupational injury benefits are potentially governed by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act), so those federal laws will come into play for many employers who choose this option.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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