Is cutting off workers’ compensation benefits to illegal aliens a good idea?

ga state capital.jpgThere’s been a proposed bill for the Georgia Legislature that would attempt to change the current law in Georgia, which allows for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of citizenship status. Is this a good idea? Let’s see.

It would give incentives to local businesses to hire illegal aliens instead of U.S. citizens, since doing so would keep workers’ compensation insurance premiums down (by having fewer covered workers on the policy), and if an illegal alien were to get hurt, who cares?  Not the employer’s problem–it can fire the hurt worker without recourse.

And where there are more job opportunities for illegals, guess what?  More will move to Georgia.  The goal for SB7 seems to be to drive undocumented workers away.  This mission will fail.

Unemployment rates will go up for Georgia citizens, and tax revenue to the state of Georgia will go down.  Not good in a time of economic woe.

Since the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act shields employers from tort liability (and the punitive damages and oft-requested “pain and suffering” damages that accompany such), having employees who are not covered by workers’ compensation may mean one can sue his employer in tort if the employer was negligent in causing the injured worker’s injuries.  I get calls every week where an injured worker’s injury was arguably caused by some kind of negligence at the job site, but we can’t sue for such, because of the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act in Georgia.

In short, SB7 is unlikely to help Georgia businesses or Georgia workers.  Let your state legislator hear as much.

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