CHICAGO – AUGUST 8, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to prevent workers convicted of serious crimes from claiming workers’ compensation benefits for injuries resulting from those crimes. Senate Bill 1147 prohibits workers from receiving benefits or attorney fees for injuries sustained in the commission of forcible felony, aggravated DUI or reckless homicide.
“Our workers’ compensation system is designed to protect workers injured on the job, not those who commit crimes,” said Governor Quinn. “Earlier this year, I passed and signed a comprehensive overhaul of our workers’ compensation system. This is another tool to make sure that workers’ compensation benefits go only to those who deserve them.”
After being charged with a forcible felony, aggravated DUI or reckless homicide, the new law also prevents employees from collecting benefits or attorney’s fees until their criminal case has concluded. Acquittal or dismissal, however, does not automatically guarantee benefits; after the conclusion of the criminal case, workers are able to pursue benefits similar to any other workers’ compensation claim.
In June, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 1698, a comprehensive overhaul of Illinois’ workers’ compensation system. The reforms are expected to save Illinois businesses between $500 and $750 million dollars, while continuing protections for injured workers. The reform package also includes a stipulation to prevent workers from claiming benefits due to injuries caused by their own inebriation while on the job.
Senate Bill 1147 was sponsored by Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Dwight Kay (R- Glen Carbon), and is effective immediately.