Each state has a Workers’ Compensation Program intended to protect workers who are injured or become ill due to a job-related event. As for Federal employees, this type of protection is provided under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, or FECA. All Federal employees and Postal workers are covered under this act. In addition to these workers, employees of the Maritime industry and U.S. Contractors working overseas are protected under FECA. The purpose of FECA is the same as that of state Workers’ Compensation. This act allows for Medical expense compensation, various types of therapy and rehabilitation along with lost wages and disability if necessary. There is another program relating to this type of coverage. The War Hazards Compensation Act, WHCA, covers all employees of U.S. Contractors working outside the country. Considering the involvement of the U.S. in hostile overseas environments the importance of this act has grown. This is because one of the hazards covered is hostile detention.
Although the premiums involved in covering employees is the responsibility of the agency employing the worker, they are generally lower than ones charged by Insurance providers in the Private sector. Before these Federal acts were passed, workers were awarded compensation only after legal proceedings. It might be interesting to compare the U.S. to other countries regarding protecting its workers. Australia, for example, began covering workers in the late 19th and early 20th century. The government of Australia was also more expedient in establishing work-place safety regulations which must be met by all employers. Each territory is responsible for the enforcement of Federal regulations and will administer and enforce all payments and regulations. Although it is called by the same name, “welfare” is much different in Brazil than in the U.S. In Brazil welfare is more of a voluntary Social insurance. For those who choose to participate, the coverage includes Brazil’s version of Unemployment insurance. This coverage provides what would compare to disability, the inability to work due to maternity and even the payment of wages lost because of imprisonment.
Payment of lost wages is the responsibility of the employer for the first fifteen days. After that period, welfare takes over paying up to 75 percent of the workers average wages. There are other acts established by the Federal government in regards to worker injury. The Merchant Marine act, also known as the Jones Act, was passed in order to provide protection those who are employed in “maritime” occupations. This was done because many fishermen work for boat owners who have very small crews, making them exempt from normal state Workers’ Comp. programs. The Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provides protection for those working in jobs, other than on boats, which are related to the Maritime industry. Should a miner fall ill to Black Lung Disease, and the mine owner not be capable of paying benefits and compensation, the Black Lung Benefits Act will provide the needed coverage. All of these additional programs were designed so as to provide compensation for workers who under normal circumstances be left behind.