Bill S1989-2015

Provides an exemption from workers' compensation coverage under certain circumstances

Permits an employer to file an application with the department of labor to be exempted from the provisions of the workers' compensation law with respect to employees whose religious tenets or teachings oppose acceptance of any insurance benefits.

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  • Jan 21, 2015: REFERRED TO LABOR

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1989

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to providing an exemption from coverage under certain circumstances

PURPOSE:

To provide an exemption from workers' compensation coverage, for those persons conscientiously opposed to acceptance of benefits of any public or private insurance which makes payments on death, disability, old age, retirement, or cost of services for medical benefits.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

The Workers' Compensation Law is amended by adding a new section 126.

JUSTIFICATION:

Some religious groups, such as Old Order Amish, do not take advantage of the program benefits offered under current workers' compensation laws. Programs such as death survivor benefits, disability, retirement, including the cost of medical bills and health care, are not utilized because the tenets or teachings of their sect or religion do not allow for participation in such programs. This legislation would allow for the creation of a waiver form. Once signed by the employee, this waiver would allow for the employer to forgo payments on behalf of this employee into the workers' compensation benefit system.

The Federal government recognizes the religious beliefs and practices of the Amish and exempts them from having to contribute to the Social Security Fund. The State of Pennsylvania also recognizes the freedom of religious practice of the Amish and enacted legislation in 1978 to allow them to be exempt from workers' compensation payments.

By their beliefs and practice, Old Order Amish do not participate in government programs, but rather take care of their own. This legislation would recognize and respect the beliefs of the Amish community by allowing them to be exempt from a program in which they would never participate.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2013,2014: S.2693/A.5657 Referred to Labor 2011,2012: S.852/A.6081 Referred to Labor 2009,2010: S.2267/A.2057 Referred to Labor 2007,2008: S.413/A.2585 Referred to Labor 2006:S.7780/A.688 Referred to Labor

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

This legislation would be revenue neutral. Persons applying for this exemption would not collect benefits and therefore would not pay into the fund.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1989 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 21, 2015 ___________
Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor AN ACT to amend the workers' compensation law, in relation to providing an exemption from coverage under certain circumstances THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The workers' compensation law is amended by adding a new section 126 to read as follows: S 126. EXEMPTION FROM COVERAGE. 1. AN EMPLOYER MAY FILE AN APPLICATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT TO BE EXEMPTED FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES. THE APPLICATION SHALL INCLUDE A WRIT- TEN WAIVER BY THE EMPLOYEE OF ALL BENEFITS UNDER THIS CHAPTER AND AN AFFIDAVIT BY THE EMPLOYEE THAT HE OR SHE IS A MEMBER OF A RECOGNIZED RELIGIOUS SECT WHICH EMBRACES A LONG-STANDING COMMITMENT OF NON-INVOLVE- MENT IN THE MATTERS OF ESTABLISHED GOVERNMENTAL PRACTICES. THEREFORE, HE OR SHE IS CONSCIENTIOUSLY OPPOSED TO ACCEPTANCE OF THE BENEFITS OF ANY PUBLIC OR PRIVATE INSURANCE WHICH MAKES PAYMENTS IN THE EVENT OF DEATH, DISABILITY, OLD AGE OR RETIREMENT OR MAKES PAYMENTS TOWARD THE COST OF, OR PROVIDES SERVICES FOR MEDICAL BILLS (INCLUDING THE BENEFITS OF ANY INSURANCE SYSTEM ESTABLISHED BY THE FEDERAL SOCIAL SECURITY ACT 42 U.S.C. 301 ET SEQ.). 2. THE WAIVER AND AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE MADE UPON A FORM TO BE PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT. 3. SUCH APPLICATION SHALL BE GRANTED IF THE DEPARTMENT SHALL FIND THAT: (A) THE EMPLOYEE IS A MEMBER OF A SECT OR DIVISION HAVING THE ESTABLISHED TENETS OR TEACHINGS REFERRED TO IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION; AND (B) IT IS THE PRACTICE, AND HAS BEEN FOR A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF YEARS, FOR MEMBERS OF SUCH SECT OR DIVISION THEREOF TO MAKE PROVISION FOR THEIR DEPENDENT MEMBERS WHICH IN ITS JUDGMENT IS REASON- ABLE IN VIEW OF THEIR GENERAL LEVEL OF LIVING. RECEIPT OF A FORM
REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSIDERED PRIMA FACIE PROOF THAT THIS SUBDIVISION HAS BEEN COMPLIED WITH. 4. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS A MINOR, THE WAIVER AND AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION MAY BE MADE BY THE GUARDIAN OF THE MINOR. 5. AN EXCEPTION GRANTED IN REGARD TO A SPECIFIC EMPLOYEE SHALL BE VALID FOR ALL FUTURE YEARS UNLESS SUCH EMPLOYEE OR SECT CEASES TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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