A House measure requiring Utah farms with payrolls of $8,000 or more to provide their employees with health and liability insurance received approval from the Senate on Thursday.
HB280 requires that farms with payrolls between $8,000 and $50,000 for non-family employees purchase a minimum of $5,000 in health insurance and $300,000 in liability insurance. Farms with payrolls above $50,000 would be required to buy insurance from the state Workers Compensation Fund.Sen. Leonard Blackham, R-Moroni, described the bill as a good compromise in the ongoing debate about how to protect agricultural workers from catastrophic injuries without putting small and medium-size Utah farmers out of business.
The bill "will not shut down the farm and ranching business in Utah," Blackham said during debate on Wednesday.
Sen. Robert Steiner, D-Salt Lake City, proposed an amendment dropping the payroll ceiling to $25,000, meaning more farms would have to by Workers Compensation insurance. The amendment was defeated.
The Utah Farm Bureau supported the bill.