Understanding The Recent Changes To US Workers’ Compensation Laws

It is no secret that the United States has something of a history of being underwhelming in various instances, not least of all laws and regulations. While the US has delivered and managed to achieve a happy medium for multiple legal circumstances and instances, there have been so many where it has fallen flat, frustrating the public and leading them to feel like they have been somehow short changed. US workers’ compensation laws have been one of those legal instances wherein the laws have had a tumultuous history of teetering dramatically falling flat and only just barely meeting expectations of US citizens.

Regardless if one is seeking legal advice from Hughes and Coleman personal injury lawyers, or reading about the latest workers’ compensation cases in the news (or any other manner of circumstances surrounding US workers’ compensation laws, for that matter), it remains loud and true that the surrounding instances and issues have more than played their part in the mounting unease that US citizens have had towards workers’ compensation laws. There was a definitive need for change. Recently, that change was actively put into effect, starting on January 1st, 2020. But to fully appreciate that new regulation, one must take a glance back at the history of workers’ compensation law in the United States.

A positive legislation in the 1970s

Back in the 1970s, the public was considerably happy with the workers’ compensation regulations in place. Up to 65% of the US’ salaried workforce were covered by America’s overtime regulations. It was an incredibly positive time for the nation’s workers’ compensation regulations, and the people who thrived under their jurisdiction. For a long time, everything on this front remained positive – and then Former President George Bush moved into the oval office, and it all started to change.

A flurry of negative change in 2004

When Former President George Bush arrived in office, his administration changed the workers’ compensation regulations, drastically reducing the percentage of salaried professionals who were privy to overtime, to 7%. That was in 2004, and ever since then, the US workers’ compensation laws have been nothing short of abysmal. The Obama Administration proposed a rule that would have raised the percentage up to 33%, but it was overturned. Now, just last month, the Trump Administration has officially filed a motion that is set to raise the percentage up to 25% – not as ambitious as the Obama proposal, but nonetheless impressive (and arguably considerably more realistic a goal) all the same.

A positive change

At the end of September last year, the Labor Department announced the finalisation of a regulation that would be expanding overtime pay eligibility to around 1.3 million professionals. Under this new legislation, most salaried professionals who earn less than $35,500 annually will be eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay. Essentially, this has driven the current threshold up from $23,700. In 2020, we will have a fresh take on US workers’ compensation laws – and that is one thing to celebrate.

Skip to toolbar