NTEU Opposes Benefit Cuts to Federal Workers’ Comp Program

Wednesday, May 20 2015
Washington, D.C.—Congress should reject proposals to slash workers’ compensation benefits for federal employees who get hurt on the job, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) told a House panel today.In a statement to the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley said the union opposes proposals that seek to cut benefits for employees and their families and force injured workers to move to retirement status.“Forcing a worker at retirement age to give up regular workers’ comp benefits and live on the income from retirement savings put aside until his or her work life was interrupted by an on-the-job injury would cause grave economic hardship to many disabled employees,” President Kelley said.

As in the past, NTEU is willing to work in a bipartisan manner to improve the workers’ compensation insurance program set up by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), “while always keeping in mind this is an issue of human dignity,” the NTEU leader wrote.

“NTEU very much wants to work with this subcommittee or any other policymaker to find ways to reduce the costs of the FECA program, as we did in 2011,” she wrote. “The best way to do so is not by reducing benefits or denying claims but by preventing the occurrence of injuries.”

The NTEU leader wrote that the program needs a “change in management practices and culture” more than legislative fixes. According to reports from NTEU members, some agency managers are uninterested in helping FECA recipients return to work by offering light duty assignments, approving alternative worksites and making disability accommodations, President Kelley wrote.

NTEU is the largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.