On July 12, 2019, after six months of persistence and lobbying, Governor Pritzker signed HB269 into law. HB269 introduces a series of sweeping reforms to worker’s compensation insurance enforcement and puts a target on the back of all illegal operators who jeopardize their employees’ well-being for fatter profits.
ILCA took the lead on drafting this landmark piece of legislation aimed at ramping up worker’s compensation enforcement. HB269 was filed this past January and was sponsored by Rep. Jay Hoffman, the Chairman of the House Labor Committee in the House and Senator Linda Holmes in the Senate. The bill had massive bipartisan support as well as the support of numerous business and labor groups. HB269 is about protecting legal businesses and hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers and their families.
Most notably, HB269 will:
- Allow for a single commissioner to open up an enforcement action (down from three which was the primary reason for slow or no enforcement)
- Allow a commissioner to authorize a work-stoppage if the company cannot demonstrate proof of insurance
- Create a 90-day timeline for all enforcement actions
- Allow an IWCC investigator to write job site tickets for up to $10,000 for companies working without comp (used to be $2,000)
- Bar serial violators from self-insurance
ILCA thanks the dozens of members who let their voices be heard about the realities of interacting with the black market every day. Your stories opened the eyes of legislators to the problems our industry has been wrestling with for decades. Every year, 9,000 bills are proposed in Springfield and only a tiny percentage are passed – making this a historic achievement. ILCA thanks our lobbyist Dave Manning, staff, and our Regulatory and Legislative Committee and Political Action Committee for their efforts.
For the past few years, ILCA has been a leader on worker’s compensation insurance enforcement in Illinois. It is estimated that as many as 30% of landscape companies are operating without worker’s compensation insurance for their employees. That is unacceptable and puts thousands of trained and qualified landscape professionals and their families at risk.
A few years ago, ILCA debuted The Empowerment Packet because we want 100% compliance in our industry. This was a collaborative effort with the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission (IWCC) to identify and stop illegally operating businesses. An ILCA member can look up the company’s insurance status and submit a claim using a tailored form to the IWCC. Many ILCA members have taken advantage of this. ILCA has also shared information regarding the fines levied in our industry that range from thousands to millions of dollars.