August 15, 2017
As a business owner, you’ll naturally do what’s in your power to create a safe work environment for your employees, but some accidents simply cannot be prevented, no matter what preventative measures you take. When an accident does happen, you want to be sure that your business and your employees are protected as far as possible, and having a sound workers compensation policy is a vital step towards achieving this.
What is the purpose of workers compensation?
Any good business should have an effective employee benefits package, and workers compensation is an important part of this. Not only does it offer your employees protection from any legal complications that may arise from an accident in the workplace, but it also gives them the assurance that they’ll receive appropriate medical care and a percentage of their normal income, until they’re able to return to work.
Irrespective of whose fault the accident may have been (if anyone was at fault), workers compensation gives the affected employee(s) benefits, and should the accident result in the death of the employee, benefits will still be awarded to those dependent family members of the employee.
What is the history of workers compensation?
This form of insurance has in fact been around for many hundreds of years, and some early proof of its’ existence can be found in an ancient system of writing known as ‘cuneiform’; inscribed upon some tablets found in Sumeria, an ancient city-state, were words detailing the ‘Law of Ur’. As the centuries progressed, workers compensation laws became stricter as employees fought more for their rights.
The first modern system of workers compensation was created in 1884 and became known as ‘Workers Accident Insurance.’
In Great Britain in 1893, workers compensation law first appeared and became known as the ‘Workers Compensation Act.’ This law quickly travelled across to the U.S. and was first put into effect there in Wisconsin, in 1911. Other states soon followed suit, with Mississippi being the last state to pass legislation in 1948.
How is workers compensation structured in the U.S.?
In the United States, the employer always funds the workers compensation coverage, and this is usually done by setting up insurance accounts for employees, or by purchasing commercial insurance policies. Compensation boards created by the states legislature then go on to handle the claims, although in a scattering of states, the claims can be taken directly to the courts.
Each state will have its own criteria for assessing injuries, and they can vary greatly, although the main distinctions will be made between an injury that has caused an impairment to the employee, and an injure that has disabled them.
How has workers compensation changed over the years?
In fact, modern workers compensation laws have altered very little since the twentieth century, with one of the few but main changes being that employers may be directed to modify their workplaces, to allow disabled persons to be able to be employed there. Clearly defining disabilities can be complex though, and it is often difficult for employers to know if an employee is defined by law, as being disabled.
Protecting your business and its employees is essential, and workers compensation is one of the most valuable and effective forms of insurance protection that a business can have. Finding a reputable firm that can offer you this is an important step forward for any new business, and can end up saving you a lot of money in court cases or fines.