A new bill tabled in the Alberta legislature on Monday includes a number of proposals that would affect employers.

If passed, Alberta employers will have to continue providing group benefits plans to injured workers under existing coverage for a year following an injury and support the return to work of employees who suffer injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Read: Alberta workplace review includes more ‘worker-centred’ processes

Other proposed changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act include: improving retirement benefits to better recognize the impact on an injured worker’s retirement savings; enhancing coverage for psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, for all occupations where workers have experienced a traumatic incident at work; and removing the maximum insurable earnings cap of $98,700 per year, allowing injured workers to receive benefits in line with their expected annual income.

“Every Albertan should be able to go to work and come home healthy and safe at the end of the workday,” said Christina Gray, the province’s minister of labour, in a statement. “When they don’t, they deserve to have access to the medical and financial supports they need to get healthy, care for their families and return to work. This bill would better protect hardworking Albertans and provide fair compensation to Albertans injured on the job.”

The bill also proposes the establishment of a fair practices office, whose mandate would be to help Albertans find their way through every step of the Workers’ Compensation Board system by offering additional support resources, as well as the establishment of a code of rights and conduct laying out the rights of employers and employees.

If passed, the changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act would take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act would take effect on June 1, 2018.

Read: Alberta proposes family-friendly workplace legislation

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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