Wage Loss Monitoring for Injured Workers in California's Workers' Compensation System
Aug 31, 2018
This final report in a series is part of a regular effort to monitor the wage losses of injured workers in the California workers' compensation system between 2013 and 2017. It updates estimates of trends in earnings losses reported in the interim reports and provides the first estimates of wage replacement rates for workers affected by benefit changes that were adopted as part of major workers' compensation reform legislation in 2012.
Estimates for 2005–2017 Injury Dates
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Workers' compensation systems are designed to provide medical care and indemnity (or wage loss) benefits and to protect workers against medical expenses and income loss that result from workplace injury. Although most workers' compensation claims are for minor injuries that require only medical care, many workplace injuries result in temporary or permanent work disability and earnings losses that can be substantial. Patterns of earnings loss can identify which workers need more attention from policymakers. Earnings loss data are also needed to evaluate benefit adequacy or return-to-work interventions. But post-injury labor market outcomes are not regularly reported in the state of California, impeding monitoring, research, and evaluation.
This final report in a series is part of a regular effort to monitor the wage losses of injured workers in the California workers' compensation system between 2013 and 2017. It updates estimates of trends in earnings losses reported in this project's three interim reports and includes analysis of the factors that have driven changes in workers' labor market outcomes from 2005 to 2017. It also provides an investigation of the reasons for regional differences (between Southern California and the rest of the state) in labor market outcomes for workers with cumulative trauma injuries. The report also provides estimates of after-tax wage replacement rates for workers with permanent disability and the first estimates of wage replacement rates in California for workers affected by statutory increases in permanent disability benefits that were adopted as part of major workers' compensation reform legislation enacted in 2012.
Data and Methods
Updated Estimates of Earnings Loss Trends
Explanations for Earnings Loss Trends and the Slow Recovery After the Great Recession
Regional Differences in Earnings Losses After Cumulative Trauma Injury
Earnings Losses and Benefit Adequacy for Injured Workers
Methods and Supplementary Results
This research was sponsored by the California Department of Industrial Relations and conducted by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, part of the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.