Suppose you are ever injured while on the clock. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation or workers’ comp.
This government program allows injured or sick employees to receive treatment and return to work without financial stress. According to the Department of Labour, those who qualify for worker’s compensation may be provided with wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, etc.
While workers’ comp is highly beneficial to the individual and the economy, many people do not always see it that way. Workers had to fight for this right.
Let’s see first what is worker’s compensation.
What Is Workers Compensation?
Worker’s compensation or a worker’s comp is a form of insurance which is providing wage replacement along with the medical benefits for the employees for any injured case.
The employees have a full right to sue the employer for negligence after the accident. This is the compensation charge for their loss.
If some employers do not pay the compensation charge to the employee. They can take help from the judicial systems for their rights to compensation.
This is the meaning of the Worker’s compensation. Now have a look at the rich history of worker’s compensation.
Law As Old As Time
The first known form of worker’s compensation comes from ancient Mesopotamia. The city-state of Ur had a law that provided rewards for injured workers. The old code of Hammurabi called for the same. Other ancient civilizations held similar policies. Sometimes compensation depended on the body part that was injured.
For example, the ancient Arabs held that the worth of a sliced penis on the job was determined by the length lost.
The way of life of many ancient civilizations was pretty advanced compared to the European Middle Ages. Feudalism meant that individual landowners determined many operations and not a unified government.
If you had a mean lord back then, you might not get any compensation for being injured while farming. Soon, this would all give way to the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution meant that more people worked for large companies and factories. Unfortunately, employees who worked in these factories had few laws to protect them, and they were restrictive.
If the worker was responsible for the injury, the employer was not at fault. So if you were tired because you had been scheduled for 14-hour shifts without breaks in the factory, nodded off, and lost a finger in some machinery, the company would not be obligated to pay you for your injuries.
New Beginnings In America
You may have heard about The Jungle by Upton Sinclair in your high school history classes, and that’s because the book was truly impactful. The same year the book was published, the Employer’s Liability Act of 1906 was passed.
This act helped replace the previous century’s restrictive laws and paved the way for more workers’ compensation in America.
Since America typically passes laws state-by-state, it took some time for all states to get on board with workers’ comp. According to the Iowa Orthopaedic Journal, “The compensation law for the comprehensive workers was enacted from Wisconsin in 1911.
Nine of the other states passed the regulations from that year, followed by the thirty-six of the others before one single decade was out. The final state passing the worker’s compensation legislation was applied from Mississippi in 1948.”
However, not all employees were protected under workers’ comp at first. For example, agricultural employees, domestic servants, numerous railroad workers in interstate commerce, and in some states, workers in non-hazardous employment were exempted when workers’ compensation was initially adopted.
In 981, the Department of Labour Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs was established.
The Future Of Workers’ Comp
Even though things have gotten better, we still feel the effects of companies’ unsafe choices for their employees today. Until the 1980s, General Electric used asbestos in their Schenectady, NY site.
This caused many former factory workers to develop mesothelioma and lung cancer diseases. Belluck & Fox, LLP attorneys are filing a GE asbestos lawsuit. They have successfully represented victims of asbestos exposure and made it possible for people to access fair worker’s compensation.
Many activist groups and voting individuals call for workers’ compensation insurance reform. What is worker’s compensation insurance? Studies show that less than half of eligible employees file for workers’ comp. And when they do file, workers rarely achieve the potential amount of compensation they should be rewarded.
As a working American, you will see the benefits of worker’s compensation and protective laws today. But once again, these rights were not just handed to average America. But, before the change happened, politicians and company owners had to receive significant legal and public pushback.
The worker’s compensation is a right of the employee. So if you are an employee of an organization, you have the right to ask for compensation. Now I think you already know about the history of worker’s compensation and its benefits. Every right is coming through a struggling period. And this history is not also a part of this. So what is your opinion? Every reader’s opinion matters. So keep commenting back to us and share some of the historical facts about the worker’s compensations.
Additional Resource:All You Need To Know About Getting Compensation After Wrongful Death
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