California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill to increase disability benefits for injured workers while taking a bite out of the rising cost of workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Lawmakers approved the bill, Senate Bill 863, which promises to increase benefits for injured workers by nearly $750 million a year, and reduced workers’ comp premiums for employers, on the last day of regular session after a personal appeal from Brown.
The legislation signed by Brown had the support of labor and small group of large, self-insured businesses. Lawyers who represent injured workers opposed the bill, which will curb lawsuits over injury claims.
With other changes, the bill is estimated to save California businesses $1 billion next year while freeing up funds to boost payments to disabled workers.
“These significant reforms save hundreds of millions of dollars for California’s employers while preventing an imminent crisis of skyrocketing rates that would have hurt both injured workers and businesses,” Brown said in a statement after signing the bill.