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Government Looks To Employers To Subsidise Recovery Of Injured Employees

Published 01 Aug 2010

A working group chaired by economist Paula Rebstock is suggesting employers need to be more involved with their employee's rehabilitation, care of their health (prevention) and getting sick or injured employees back to work sooner. More of the same. Let's hope the proposals tabled don't fly.

Currently however, under OSH law, every employer must have a Rehabilitation System in place anyway. The OSH Act also insists employers 'take every reasonably practicable step' to protect employees from becoming sick, ill or injured. That's been the law since the 1st April 1993. The tabled Rebstock proposal includes a recommendation for an adoption of the Dutch system where employers pay a premium (like our ACC) and also pays for the majority of costs of employees and past workers on sickness or disability benefits. For kiwi employers the prospect of paying and insurance premium for a policy that excludes claims and paying for the treatment as well is probably less than appealing.

The Burden Placed On Employers
Employers have noted that over the last few years governments have increased the pace of fobbing serious responsibilities onto employers. If we glance back over recent years several changes in legislation burden employers with onerous tasks and costs that were not in place before. We refer to Superannuation, (upcoming) GST increase, an extra week's annual holidays, time & a half on Public Holidays, and an alternative holiday for a Public Holiday that is worked, increased and accumulative paid Sick Leave (to 20 days), paid Bereavement Leave for each bereavement suffered, paid Bereavement Leave for cultural responsibilities, Parental Leave for hubby (not paid) (yet). Please note none of the above costs the Government anything - only employers. They buy votes with employer's money based on extra benefits for employees because there are more employees than employers. Employees don't want employers interfering in health issues and the like. Employers hire employees to get a job done – not to dismiss them and most employees want to do the job properly. Remember the days when businesses had a focus on producing goods or services and making money? Unfortunately, Corporates now seem to have to consider their manager's personal ethics and publicly wash dirty linen when their managers step out of line. Why would we want to become so PC we swap the 'Mommy State' for a 'Corporate State'. Employees don't want employers to tell them how to run their personal lives or how important standards and ethics are.