A report released by the Labor Department stated that sickness and injuries on the job are having a major impact on the widening gap between the rich and poor across the nation, including South Carolina. The report stated that deficient worker compensation programs are adding to that gap by not providing sufficient income to the employee while they are recovering from injuries. It is estimated that nearly 4 million severe injuries are disclosed to employers every year. Employees who are granted workers’ compensation receive on average 15 percent less from their paycheck while out of work.
Additionally, the Labor Department suggests that lower income employees have an even larger issue when dealing with workers’ compensation benefits because they are often not even aware the benefit exists. Foreign workers are sometimes inhibited from understanding the compensation program by language barriers. Those who are employed through a temporary service are typically there only for a short time and might not be fully educated on programs available.
Employers have long been criticized for inadequate training programs that do not properly educate employees on how to be safe on the job. Poor training programs tend to increase the frequency of injuries on the job, which contributes to the problem of income inequality.
While workers’ compensation programs may be in need of an overhaul, they have served as a welcomed necessity for many who have been unable to work due to an injury. For those who have been hurt at work, it might be helpful to seek legal advice to be fully informed of all options available. A properly handled workers’ compensation claim could make all the difference in a family’s financial future.
Source: Huffington Post, ‘Workplace Injures Are Adding To Income Inequality: Labor Department,” Dave Jamieson, March 4, 2015