I have been speaking with labor leaders across New York City for LaborPress, New York’s leading source of labor news coverage. Recently, on LaborPress’ radio show, I weighed in on a discussion about New York parole officers’ line of duty benefits. Right now, New York parole officers do a lot of the work that police officers do–apprehend people accused (and convicted) of breaking the law, respond to dangerous situations, chase people accused of breaking the law etc.–but they do not get the kind of injury and sick benefits that normal police officers receive. In New York, police officers receive “line of duty” benefits when they get hurt, but New York parole officers receive workers compensation benefits. As every police officer, firefighter, construction worker, or anyone else who has been injured on the job might tell you: injured people and their families receive less money from workers compensation benefits than they would if they had “line of duty benefits.” For that reason, New York parole officers are lobbying for workplace parity so they receive line of duty benefits if they get hurt in dangerous situations while doing their jobs. New laws would go a long way towards keeping injured civil servants from losing their homes and ensuring their bills get paid.
Taxpayers might wonder, “well if the state is paying for line of duty benefits, that’s going to cost the taxpayer more money, won’t it?” It might, but, to that I say two things. First, we are talking about civil servants who do a thankless job and are necessarily in dangerous situations for society. That’s a major justification to ensure if they get hurt, they do not get put into desperate financial straits. Secondly, third-party personal injury lawsuits will reimburse the taxpayers. As I explain in the radio show, parole officers are often injured by negligence–attacked by unleashed dogs, falling on someone else’s negligently maintained property, getting hit by negligent drivers etc. Each of those separate negligence cases can be used to reimburse the taxpayers who paid line of duty benefits (or workers compensation benefits), while also saving society the cost of underpaying desperate civil servants who were injured doing a difficult and thankless job.
It aired on April 9, 2017 on AM 970. My segment begins at 22:00. Enjoy! As always, contact us if you need help.