On its Web site, www.awcc.state.ar.us/news.html, the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission summarized workers’ compensation acts passed by the state’s 2007, 86th General Assembly. The full text of each act is available by Act number on the State of Arkansas Legislative Web page at www.arkleg.state.ar.us.
Act 1599: (House Bill 2648) – An Act to Ensure the Solvency Of The Death And Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund; To Amend A Portion of the Arkansas Code Which Resulted From Initiated Act 4 of 1948; And For Other Purposes.
This act amends Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-502 by raising the seventy-five thousand dollar ($75,000) threshold at which the Death and Permanent Disability Trust Fund assumes payments of benefits for injuries resulting in permanent disability or death. In essence, the amended act eliminates the $75,000 cap on weekly benefits paid by the employer or its insurance carrier for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2008. For those injuries occurring prior to January 1, 2008, the $75,000 limit on employer/carrier liability is still applicable. However, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2008, the employer or its carrier shall pay weekly benefits for death or permanent total disability “not to exceed three hundred twenty-five (325) times the maximum total disability rate” at the time of the injury. NCCI estimates that the 2008 threshold will be approximately one hundred seventy thousand dollars ($170,000).
Act 1415: An Act To Amend Arkansas Coded §11-9-525 Concerning Compensation For Second Injuries; To Amend A Portion Of The Arkansas Code Which Resulted From Initiated Act 4 of 1948; And For Other Purposes.
This act amends Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-525 by prohibiting claims for second injuries being made under the provisions of § 11-9-525 after January 1, 2008. In effect, this act has eliminated the Second Injury Fund with regard to claims made after January 1, 2008.
Act 546: An Act To Give A Sole Proprietor, Partner, Professional Association Member, or Limited Liability Company The Same Right To Waive Workers’ Compensation Coverage As A Sole Proprietor And A Corporate Officer; And For Other Purposes.
This act amends Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-108 to include sole proprietors as among those individuals listed in the statute who may exclude themselves from workers’ compensation coverage, or who may “waive their right” to coverage or compensation for insurance purposes. Further, those individuals who are eligible for this exclusion are not considered “employees”, and they are not required to obtain a certificate of non-coverage from the Commission. However, even if these elected exclusions reduces the number of employees of a business to fewer than three (3), the employer is still required to continue to provide workers’ compensation coverage for its employees. This extension does not apply to subcontractors.
Act 398: An Act To Amend Code § 17-25-514(b) Concerning The Requirement That A Residential Building Contractor Submit Proof of Current Workers’ Compensation Coverage Before Renewing A License; And For Other Purposes.
This act amends Ark. Code Ann. § 17-25-514 by eliminating the requirement that a residential building contractor, who is not required to secure payment of workers’ compensation coverage, submit a certificate of non-coverage to the Residential Building Contractors Committee along with their application for a license or renewal of a license.
Source: Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
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