Workers' comp report draws mixed reaction
A report on workers' compensation in Newfoundland and Labradoris drawing mixed reaction from workers and employers, in part for recommending that domestic employees be made eligible for compensation.
For six months a committee of workers, employers and government representatives reviewed how workers' compensation claims are made in the province, what kinds of claims are made, and how to make the system work better. The committee released its report Friday.
Darlene White, who earns a living by babysitting, said she's happy with the report's recommendation to make domestic workers eligible for workers' compensation.
"I think they should be entitled to it as well as everybody else," said White.
"I mean, accidents can happen at any workplace, whether you're employed by a big business or privately. You know, you still have accidents happening, so I think it would be a benefit to anybody."
Alongside making such domestic workers as babysitters and house cleaners eligible for compensation benefits, the report also recommends that people who hire the domestic workers should pay premiums to workers' compensation.
Sherry Power, who employs a babysitter for her daughter Victoria, said the new recommendations would make things too complicated for parents like her.
"They're using those services, such as nannies and cleaners, to de-complicate, for lack of a better word, their lives a little," said Power.
"If you start appending documentation ... it's going to discourage people from using them."
The president of the province's Employers' Council, Marilyn Tucker, said her group is also against making employers pay premiums to workers' compensation if they hire domestic workers.
Tucker said the change will put too much strain on the compensation system.
"It's adding probably three to five thousand employers to the system that are very hard to monitor, hard to manage," said Tucker.
"They change on a monthly basis, they're people in their private homes, so how do you collect from them? How do you administer that system? And we see administrative costs doubling."
The province will announce what it intends to do about the report— which is now in the hands of Labour Minister Paul Shelley— sometime this fall.