workers' compensation

workers' compensation
n.
1. a government-sponsored insurance system, funded by contributions from employers, for compensating employees for injury or occupational disease suffered in connection with their employment
2. compensation given under such a system

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Program through which employers bear some of the cost of their employees' work-related injuries and occupational illnesses or disabilities.

It was first introduced in Germany in 1884. In Britain and the U.S. in the late 19th century, there was a movement to secure the right of injured workers to compensation and to improve working conditions through court decisions, employer liability statutes, and safety codes. By the mid-20th century most countries in the world had adopted some sort of workers' compensation. Some systems take the form of compulsory social insurance; in others the employer is legally required to provide certain benefits, but insurance is voluntary. The system of workers' compensation serves as an economic incentive for employers to prevent accidents and illness among employees, since liability for medical costs and the income lost by placing workers in hazardous environments can easily exceed the costs of establishing safe working conditions.

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also called  Work Injury Compensation,  

      social-welfare program through which employers bear some of the cost of their employees' work-related injuries and occupational diseases. Workers' compensation was first introduced in Germany in 1884, and by the middle of the 20th century most countries in the world had some kind of workers' compensation or employment injuries legislation. Some systems take the form of compulsory social insurance; in others the employer is legally required to provide certain benefits, but insurance is voluntary. Employment injury benefits are financed by employers in most countries.

      In common-law (common law) countries such legislation is based upon a doctrine of strict liability, or liability without fault. This is a departure from the principle of tort law, in which the injured party receives no damages unless it can be shown that someone else maliciously or negligently caused the damage. The rationale for the “social fault doctrine” is that, under conditions of modern industrial employment, employers are in the best position to prevent accidents and disease and should therefore be given economic incentive to take preventive action.

      Because the older common law made it difficult for a worker to obtain compensation from an employer, there was a movement in the latter part of the 19th century in Great Britain and the United States to modify, by court decisions and by employer liability statutes, the common-law defenses of the employer and to specify, through safety codes, the employer's particular duties to provide safe working conditions. The system of workers' compensation gradually displaced the safety codes.

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Universalium. 2010.

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