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Michigan Celebrates 100 Years of Workers' Compensation

The workers' compensation bill was signed into law in 1912 and serves to protect employees on the job.

The Michigan Workers' Compensation law celebrates its 100th anniversary on Labor Day weekend.

The law was signed by former Gov. Chase S. Osborn effective Sept. 1, 1912.

Michigan's injured workers and their employers continue to be protected by the Workers' Disability Compensation Act, which provides wage loss compensation, medical care and vocational rehabilitation to workers who suffer an injury on the job while protecting employers from unlimited liability. 

“The law was created to protect workers as the economy shifted from agricultural to industrial and will likely evolve in the future with changing work conditions of Millennials, the generation born in late 1970s and later,” said Kevin Elsenheimer, director of the Workers’ Compensation Agency. “Workers’ Compensation laws were the nation’s first social legislation, later followed by unemployment and other employee benefits."

To recognize the milestone, Gov. Rick Snyder is issuing a certificate of recognition for the 100th anniversary in Michigan. Michigan’s Workers’ Compensation system has been recognized as a “competitive asset for the state” by the Workers Compensation Research Institute since overall costs have declined in recent years.

“We’ve been able to keep costs down for Workers’ Compensation, which is a benefit for Michigan employers and ultimately employees and job seekers,” said Steven Hilfinger, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs.

“Changes were also recently made when Gov. Snyder signed PA 266 of 2011 reforming the state’s workers’ compensation system which will continue to give Michigan a competitive edge in attracting and retaining businesses," he said.

The anniversary of Workers’ Compensation will be commemorated in conjunction with the North American Labor History Conference, Oct. 18-19 with national and state experts including Lt. Governor Brian Calley. The event will be hosted at Wayne State University by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency.

The seminar is at the Wayne State University Law School, Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, located at 471 West Palmer Street in Detroit.

This event is free to the public. Participation in the NALHC luncheon requires registration and prepayment through the event website at http://nalhc.wayne.edu/.

For more information on the 2012 North American Labor History Conference contact Jack Nolish, WCA Deputy Director at 313-456-3650.

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