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BULLETIN OF THE

U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

WHOLE NO. 243.

WASHINGTON.

SEPTEMBEB, 1918

WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LEGISLATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES,

1917 AND 1918.

BY LINDLEY D. CLARK.

INTRODUCTION. The present bulletin is prepared as a supplement to Bulletin No. 203, its main purpose being to present the enactments, new and amendatory, made by the State legislatures during the year 1917 and up to July, 1918, on the subject of compensation of workmen for injuries. Some changes in foreign legislation are also noted.

In 1917 action was taken in this country in 32 jurisdictions, 5 States cnacting their first laws on the subject, and amendatory acts being passed in 25 States and Territories, while 2 States passed supplementary laws. On State passed an original act in 1918 and in 6 States amendatory or supplementary acts were passed. A list of the States, etc., in which commissions of investigation have been appointed, and in which laws have been enacted, follows:

TATES, ETC., IN WHICH COMMISSIONS WERE APPOINTED AND IN WHICH COMPEN

SATION LAWS WERE ENACTED AND AMENDED, BY YEARS, TO JULY, 1918.

State, etc.

Year compensa

tion law was
Year enacted.
com-
mission
was ap-

Amend-
pointed. Origi- mont or

nal.

substi-
tute.

Stato, eto.

Year compensa

tion law was Year

enacted, commission was ap

Amendpointed. Origi

ment or nal. substi

tute.

Alabama....
Alaska...
Arizona
California.
Colorado.
Connecticut.
Delaware..
Hawaii..
Idaho
Illinois.
Indiana.
lowa...

i Voluntary.

1915
Kansas...

1911 1913, 1917
1915
1917 Kentucky..

1 1915 1914 1916, 1918 1912 1913 Louisiana.

1912 1914 1916, 1918 $1913, 1915 Maine.

1915 1911

1917 1917 Maryland.

3 1913

1912 1914, 1916 1911 1915 1917

11912, 1913 1907 1913 1915, 1917 Massachusetts...

1903 1911

1914, 1915 1911 1917

1916, 1917 1915 1917

1918 1917 Michigan.....

1911 1912

1913, 1915 1905 1913, 1915

1917 1911 1917 Minnesots.

1909 1913 1515, 1917 1913 1915 1917 Missouri

31910 1911 1913 1817 Montana.

31910 # 1909 1915 ' Law declared unconstitutional. • Appoiuted by the governor.

7

STATES, ETC., IN WHICH COMMISSIONS WERE APPOINTED AND IN WHICH COMPEN SATION LAWS WERE ENACTED AND AMENDED, BY YEARS, TO JULY, 1918–Concluded.

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1 Supplemental law,
2 Two laws, one (compulsory) declared unconstitutional

3 Appointed by the governor, The appointment of commissions for investigative purposes and for drafting laws has practically ceased, no commission of this kind having been provided for by the legislatures in session during the years under consideration. Such cessation is natural in view of the fact that 38 States, besides the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii and the island possessions of Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands, now have laws of this kind; also because the necessity for such investigations that formerly existed has been practically met by the scope of past achievements. It is to be noted, however, that in Michigan, after five years of experience under a compensation law, the governor was authorized to appoint a commission of three members whenever in his opinion the compensation law should be found unfair to either employees or employers, this commission to be charged with the duty of investigating the workings of the act and reporting thereon with recommendations as to needed changes or amendments: and the Legislature of Oregon provided for a committee of its members to study the questions of carrying on the work of the State accident commission without State aid and of making the law compulsory; while in Louisiana the matter of compensation insurance through a State commission was referred to a committee of the legislature.

A statutory commission is still in existence in Alabama, and voluntary commissions will presumably report to the approaching sessions of the legislatures in Missouri and Tennessee. The following table shows the action taken by way of appointment of commissions and enactment of laws during each year since the beginning of the present movement:

NUMBER OF WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION COMMISSIONS AND LAWS, BY YEARS, TO

JULY 1, 1918.

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Since the compilation of Bulletin No. 203 the United States Employees' Compensation Act of September 7, 1916, has been made effective by the organization of the commission administering it, actual work of the commission beginning April 1, 1917. This act is restricted in its operation to the civil employees of the United States. In this connection mention should be made of an act of October 6, 1917, which provides compensation for death or disability resulting from personal injury suffered or disease contracted in the line of duty by any commissioned officer or enlisted man, or by any member of the Army or Navy Nurse Corps (female) of the United States, when employed in active service. This is especially significant inasmuch as it is an expression of a purpose of Congress to substitute the compensation idea for the long-standing pension system in use in this particular field.

Of the five States which enacted original laws in 1917, Delaware and Idaho provided for the laws to take effect January 1, 1918; New Mexico, June 8, 1917; South Dakota, June 1, 1917; and Utah, July 1, 1917. The law of Virginia, enacted in 1918, comes into operation on January 1, 1919. A circuit court of the Territory of Hawaii dleclared the compensation law of that Territory unconstitutional on June 28, but a decision of the supreme court of the Territory, handed down December 11, 1917, reversed the decision of the circuit court and declared the act constitutional and valid.

REPORTS OF COMMISSIONS. Three legislative commissions were in existence at the beginning of 1917, each charged with the duty of preparing compensation laws in States which had enacted no laws on the subject. The session of the Legislature of Alabama being quadrennial, no report is to be expected in that State until near the time of the meeting of that body in 1919.

UTAH.

1

The Utah commission reported to the legislature of 1917, its seven members having been appointed by the governor on March 1, 1916, under a legislative authorization “to inquire into the question of employers' liability and other matters, and provide for an appropriation therefor." The commission was without funds other than an amount to reimburse it for expenses not in excess of $500. The investigation was therefore necessarily conducted in the main by correspondence and through the examination of such material as could be secured by request. As a result of its labors the commission settled upon the Indiana statute of 1915 as a practical basis for its recommendations. Suggestions were drawn from the laws of other States, however. The commission believed that the limitations of the State constitution restricted it to the recommendation of an elective law, though acceptance of the act was to be presumeid, and employers were to be required to maintain insurance or furnish satisfactory proof of financial ability to make direct payments. Rejecting employers were to lose the common-law defenses. Free medical and hospital services were to be provided for the first 30 days after the injury in an amount not to exceed $100, such aid to be accepted by the employee under penalty of loss of compensation during the time of refusal. Fifty per cent of the workman's wages was made the basis of compensation, the compensation period not to exceed 333} weeks, and benefits being limited to $1,000 as a maximum. Nonresident alien beneficiaries were restricted to half benefits, with a maximum of $1,000. An industrial board was to administer the law; the proposition to create a State fund was not favored.

The law enacted differed from that proposed by the commission in being compulsory for all employments in which four or more persons are employed, except in agricultural and domestic service. A 55 per cent basis was assumed for compensation, with $1,500 masimum benefits. The value of medical service to be furnished was fixed at a maximum of $200, and a State fund was provided for. The waiting period was fixed at 10 days.

Changes from the bill were generally in the direction of liberality. It is of interest to note in this connection that the report as printed included a minority report by one member of the commission, who

1 Utah. Report of the Employers' Llability and Workmen's Compensation Commission to the Twelfth Session of the Legislature of Utah, together with draft of the bill submitted. [Salt Lake City, 1916.)

62 pp.

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