Colorado's Uninsured Employers Fund Law Now in Effect

The law creates a new fund for paying workers hurt on the job whose employers don't carry workers' compensation insurance.

A new law has taken effect in Colorado as of July 1, 2017, that allows the state Department of Labor and Employment's Division of Workers' Compensation to create an Uninsured Employers Fund. Similar to funds in other states, the new fund will provide financial assistance to workers hurt on the job whose employers don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the measure on June 5, during National Safety Month, and also signed a proclamation that day declaring the month Colorado Workforce Safety Month. The Colorado Uninsured Employer Act (HB17-1119) became effective July 1.

According to the division, there were 27,243 lost-time workers' compensation claims in Colorado from 2004 to 2013, a period when Colorado's average annual employment increased by almost 20 percent but the number of lost-time claims filed decreased by almost 7 percent. "The statistics indicate that a focus on workplace safety is seeing results. Safer workplaces show higher productivity and quality and greater employee satisfaction," according to the governor's news release on the bill signing.

The division's Premium Cost Containment Program helps employers control work-related injuries while qualifying for a 5 to 10 percent workers' compensation premium discount; more than 7,500 Colorado employers currently participate in the program, which helped employers certified in the program save a total of $24,591,688 in the overall reduction of total claim costs during 2016.

As a result of the new law, the state will continue to fine employers without insurance in the event of injuries in the workplace but will put the funds toward assisting injured workers instead of placing that money into a general fund. The law allows the Department of Labor and Employment to decide appropriate daily fines.

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