WHY CALIFORNIA BUSINESS OWNERS NEED WORKER'S COMPENSATION
As a business operating in the state of California, you have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to offer certain protections to your employees. From employee safety at the place of work, income protection and all the way to protection after an injury occurs, employers must meet a certain set of requirements. One such requirement is known as worker’s compensation and is the nation’s oldest social insurance program. If you are an employer in the state, you may be interested in finding out what standards you must meet.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF WORKER’S COMPENSATION
Prior to the industrial revolution, there was a given assumption of risk made by the employee when they chose to work in a field that had some dangerous aspects. Many of these jobs were construction, mechanical or industrial related. With the increase of demand came a larger demand for employees, and when you have a large number of employees working in occasionally unsafe conditions, the number of injuries are also likely to rise. Indeed this is what happened. There was an outcry from employees and their families on the state and federal level to pressure employers to maintain a certain level of safety.
Out of this came a great wind of change, starting in Europe and slowly making its way to the United States in the 1900’s as a series of regulations. Although it started as a federal push, it is now up to each state to regulate and determine what the businesses in their state are required to offer. In California, worker’s compensation is one of the programs employers are obligated to provide.
WHAT IS WORKER’S COMPENSATION?
Also known as worker’s comp, this is a state regulated insurance program that offers medical and financial compensation to employees who sustain an injury or become ill at their place of work. This is true regardless of who is at fault for the incident, be it employee, employer, coworker, or some outside third party. In return for the employer paying for these benefits, the employee waives the right to file a personal liability claim in court against the employer for the injury.
The various benefits that can be offered are:
Medical care: This pays for medical treatment required to recover from an injury or illness, including doctors visits, tests, and medications;
Temporary Disability Benefits: Temporary wage payments made if an employee is unable to work their usual job due to an injury or illness;
Permanent Disability Benefits: Payments if the employee has a measurable permanent loss of physical or mental function that results in an inability to perform their usual job;
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit: An employer may offer to pay for retraining of a new skill to obtain another job if an injury results in the employee’s inability to perform their current duties and the employer has no other job available for them; and
Death Benefits: Payments to the family of the employee dies as a result of an injury or illness.
If you have a business in California, you must offer worker’s compensation benefits by law. The law is in depth and reaches far beyond the scope of this blog. If you are interested in discussing employer’s options and obligations, a knowledgeable and experienced business lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and assist you through the process. If you are considering conferring with a skilled San Jose business attorney, contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer today at one of our three locations in San Jose, Morgan Hill and Fremont at 408-779-4700. With with more than 30 years of experience, we have helped numerous businesses and offer a free 20-minute consultation to better suit your needs.