House Subcommittee Examines Reforms to Federal Employees’ Compensation Act

Today, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), held a hearing entitled, “Reforming the Workers’ Compensation Program for Federal Employees.”

The press release about the Hearing states:

Enacted in 1916, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) provides workers’ compensation benefits to federal employees who become injured or ill through work-related activity. The program covers approximately three million civilian federal workers and paid out nearly $3 billion in benefits in 2014. The law has not been meaningfully updated since 1974, and there are concerns that current, outdated benefit policies may be too generous and discourage employees’ return to work. The Department of Labor, in its Fiscal Year 2016 budget request, has proposed a series of reforms intended to improve the program.  [The hearing] will provide committee members with an opportunity to further evaluate the administration’s proposed reforms, as well as other possible legislative changes to reform the law.

Witnesses (listed below, with links to their testimony) generally agreed on the need to reform the FECA program, which has not been “meaningfully updated” in 40 years.  They discussed a specific proposal included in the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2016 budget blueprint for the Department of Labor that are intended to improve return-to-work procedures, streamline claims processing, and update benefits levels.

Witness List

Mr. Leonard Howie – Director of Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, Department of Labor (Washington, D.C.)

Mr. Ron Watson – Director of Retired Members, National Association of Letter Carriers (Washington, D.C.)

Dr. Andrew Sherrill – Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office (Washington, D.C.)

The Honorable Scott Dahl – Inspector General, Department of Labor (Washington, D.C.)

Click here to view the archived webcast of the Hearing.

Click here to read the media summary of the Hearing

Click here for Chairman Walberg’s Opening Statement.

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