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New York Horse Owners/Trainers Significant Increase in Workers Compensation Rates

horse owners-trainers workers compensation in new york

In a last-minute deal, horse owners and trainers have avoided a substantial increase in workers’ compensation premiums for jockeys and exercise riders in 2016.

In New York, workers’ compensation insurance premiums to cover jockeys and exercise riders are paid into the Jockey Injury Compensation Fund, which then purchases workers’ compensation insurance through the New York State Insurance Fund. Premium payments are assessed to owners and trainers.

Under New York law, the Jockey Injury Compensation Fund is required to submit a funding plan for the next year by November 15 of the current year. The Fund failed to meet that deadline for the second year in a row, prompting the Gaming Commission to issue an emergency rule, substantially increasing rates.

In 2015, the cost per stall per day for a trainer at New York Racing Association tracks—Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga— was $1.50. The emergency rule would have put that daily rate at $5.65, an increase of nearly 300%. A similar rate hike applied to tracks in the Finger Lakes area, where per stall per day premiums went from just 50 cents a day to $2.12 daily. Officials estimated that a trainer with just 10 stalls could have been required to pay more than $15,000 more for workers’ compensation insurance in 2016. Trainers must also pay a $1,000 per injury fee under the rule.

Under the emergency rule, owners would also have seen a substantial increase in workers’ compensation assessments, from one percent of purse money in 2015 to two percent in 2016. The fee would have been capped at $20,000.

New York Jockey Work Comp Rate Hike Avoided

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About The Author

Picture of Michael Serres, ESQ.

Michael Serres, ESQ.

Michael Serres, ESQ. is a reputed Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Astoria, Queens, NY. He graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in 1989. Mr. Serres was admitted to practice law in New York State in 1990 and is admitted in the Federal District Courts for the Southern and the Eastern Districts of New York. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Workers’ Compensation Bar Association and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Queens County Bar Association.