State Business Operators Favor Workers’ Compensation Reform, According to New Survey
OKLAHOMA CITYOklahoma’s workers’ compensation system is hurting job growth and is of top importance for business success, according to a new survey of business owners and operators. The SourceHub poll was commissioned by The State Chamber of Oklahoma and surveyed 229 business owners and operators across Oklahoma.
“The correlation in this survey between job growth and the need for workers’ compensation reform was eye-popping,” said Mike Seney, senior vice president of operations for The State Chamber. “It’s not every day when you see such a diverse group of business owners agree on an issue with such force. Legislators worried about the economy should pay close attention to these results.”
Three out of four Oklahoma business owners surveyed believe Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system imposes costs on businesses that hurt job growth, according to the survey. Seventy-seven percent say they will support candidates for public office who are willing to vote for strong workers’ compensation reform.
“Much reform is needed on a system that is in bad need of repair,” said John Stewart of Sysco Foods of Oklahoma. “It is easy to see why potential new businesses stay clear of the state we live in and call home.”
Comments from business owners and operators who participated in the survey ranged from frustration to calls for action. They said the current system causes lower wages and stifles hiring and job growth.
“I feel that the current system is not helpful to my small business,” said Jamila Whisenant of Kwik Kar Service Center of Yukon. “We have had our business for two years without a single work comp claim, but it continues to be one of the highest fixed costs year to year.”
Businesses from industries across Oklahoma participated. Forty-six percent employ one to 50 employees; 10 percent employ 51 to 100 employees; 27 percent employ 101 to 500 employees; 6 percent employ 501 to 1,000 employees; and 11 percent employ more than 1,000.
The survey found that:
Eighty-two percent of Oklahoma business owners and operators surveyed said they would support the Oklahoma State Legislature passing significant workers’ compensation reform.
Two out of three (66 percent) State Chamber members who took the survey said they would support the Oklahoma State Legislature passing workers’ compensation reform, which includes abolishing the current court system and changing to an administrative system.
State Chamber members surveyed feel Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system is the second most important issue facing them today in terms of importance to the success of their businesses – second only to “access to a skilled workforce.”