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Pension Offsets Bill Would Be The Worst And Most Costly Workers Compensation Legislation In Years

Pension Offsets Bill Would Be The Worst And Most Costly Workers Compensation Legislation In Years

For Immediate Release:

Kevin Maloney (203) 710-3486

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Tuesday, May 28) called on the General Assembly, with only eight days left in the 2019 legislative session, to swiftly reject State Senate Bill 660, which would allow municipal employees to collect their full pension while at the same time collect full workers compensation benefits.

“This may be one of the worst and most costly pieces of workers compensation legislation to be seriously considered by the General Assembly in years -- receiving what basically amounts to a double pension,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director.

Current law provides for an offset that makes the employee whole, which is how the workers’ compensation system is supposed to work.  Passage of this bill would disrupt the current workers’ compensation system by increasing litigation and discouraging settlements. It would increase employee costs across the board.

SB 660 would result in a significant cost to municipalities that offer defined benefit retirement plans by eliminating pension offset provisions that have been collectively bargained. The State Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) has designated the bill a “state mandate.”  

OFA says:  “The bill will result in a cost to municipalities who offer defined benefit retirement plans for employees from eliminating permanent partial disability (PPD) settlement offsets from the pension benefit formula. The impact to municipalities will be realized when the liability is assessed by plan actuaries, to the extent permitted by collective bargaining. The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above will continue into the future and be reflected in municipalities annual ADECs.”  

Harmful consequences back to top

This bill would be especially harmful to towns and cities with defined benefit plans such as the 84-plus towns in the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) who are already facing significant contribution increases on July 1st.  

SB 660 would set a dangerous precedent and is inherently contradictory; and SB 660 would result in claimants being unjustly enriched above and beyond compensation required to make them whole. 

Claimants would also be allowed to collect full permanent partial disability payments and full pension benefits.

SB 660 would create a financial incentive for individuals to leave claims unresolved because it will allow for claimants to receive greater compensation if the claim is left open.  

The General Assembly should be considering ways to reduce mandates and stabilize property taxes, instead of imposing new, costly unfunded mandates.