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Proposed Legislation to Examine Effectiveness of SJDB Vouchers

It doesn’t take long for a participant in the workers’ compensation system to develop a rather healthy amount of cynicism with respect to supplemental job displacement benefits.  They are rarely used for their intended purpose, and, prior to SB-863, were just another couple of thousand dollars in the settlement amount.

It might be that someone in the legislature took notice of this little fact.  Assembly Member Curt Hagman introduced AB1749 early this year.  AB1749, as it is currently written, would require the administrative director to report to the state legislature, no later than January 1, 2016, on the results of the SJDB voucher program, namely “the extent to which injured workers who obtained specific education or training with vouchers … obtained employment related to that education or training.”

In other words, rather than taking employers’ coins and throwing them into the wishing well of good intentions (and then forgetting about them) someone actually wants to know if this program does any good, or if it is another waste of employers’ time and resources.

AB1749 isn’t law yet, and it’s not going to fix our broken system by a long shot, but this humble blogger welcomes it as a step in the right direction.  If there is no benefit involved to the voucher program, whether because it is not utilized at all or utilized on pursuing education for hobbies rather than marketable skills, perhaps it is a benefit that the government should not be forcing employers to provide.

More importantly, the legislature should be encouraged to make these sort of inquiries and on the grander scale.  Do employers and employees benefit from the various benefit schemes currently in place?

WCDefenseCA sends its warmest regards and thanks to Assembly Member Hagman for even peering into this dark swamp we workers’ comp folks call home, and encourages him to continue.  If you’re looking for problems to fix, we’ve got them a plenty!

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