About The Original Workmen’s Compensation Law
In 1910, representatives of various state commissions met at a conference in Chicago and the Uniform Workmen’s Compensation Law. Although this innovative new law was not overwhelmingly adopted, the Uniform Workmen’s Compensation Law became the blueprint for state “Workmen’s Compensation” statutes.
By 1920 all but eight states had adopted “Workmen’s Compensation” laws . And in 1963, Hawaii became the last state to do so.
Of course, at the turn of the century when this law was enacted, the Workforce was comprised almost exclusively of men. Further, in occupations where job related injuries were likely to occur (those including physical labor), almost no women were employed. So the laws – in keeping with the times – were called Workmen’s Compensation Law.
Workmen’s Compensation Law Becomes Worker’s Compensation Law
Sometime laws do not keep up with society – and the “workmen’s compensation” laws are classic example of this. No major changes were made to the existing “workmen’s compensation” law from 1935 until 1978. In 1978 sweeping revisions changed the existing Workmens Compensation “fixed benefit” (flat rate) system, to a new “wage loss system”. Under the old law workers were paid a on the basis of the type and severity of the injury related to a fixed schedule of benefits. However the new law assesses benefits and offers compensation on the basis of the employees’ actual lost wages.
Under the old system, those who were able to or even returned to work received a lump sum payment – and those who could not work were limited to the payment according to the schedule. The new act now compensates injured or ill workers based on the wages that the employee will lose as a result of the accident, injury or illness.
Of course, by 1978 women were now comprising a much larger segment of the work force. So – finally – Workmen’s Compensation Law was renamed Worker’s Compensation Law.
Many People Still Say Workmens Compensation (or Workmans Comp)
Fast forward to today – and roughly 50% of the Workforce is comprised of women. But old habits are hard to break! After decades of the term “Workmen’s Compensation” being used, many people find it hard to switch to the term “Workers’ Compensation.” Of course, if you call it “Workmen’s Compensation” (or “Workman’s Compensation”) everyone will still know what you mean. But, to be technically correct and properly inclusive of women, the actual legal term now used is “Worker’s Compensation.”
I am Workers Comp, Workmans Comp and Workmens Comp Lawyer!
Whatever term you choose to use, if you need assistance understanding Workers’ Compensation law, I’m here to help.