Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental condition that can develop after a person experiences traumatic events. The events may include traffic accidents, warfare, death threats, sexual assault, or other trauma. Members of some of the most important governmental institutions are forced to deal with traumatic events daily. Police, paramedics, and firefighters are especially at risk of developing PTSD as a work-related illness. The legislation presented in the study is designed to address this issue by providing benefits to the members of these institutions. The following paper will provide an analysis of this case and explore possible ways to prevent similar situations in the future.
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Overview of the Case
The recently passed legislation recognized PTSD as a work-related illness for firefighters, paramedics, and police. It was passed unanimously and stipulates that first responders are much more likely to be afflicted with PTSD.
When PTSD is left untreated, the anxiety that the person feels becomes overwhelming, and they may commit suicide. Despite the severity of the disease, old legislation forced the affected people to prove that their condition was job-related to receive coverage under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. The legislators expressed some measure disappointment that the new bill did not include nurses, parole officers, special constables, bailiffs, and those whose claims had been previously rejected by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, but the agreement about the importance of the bill was unanimous among legislators (“Ontario Passes,” 2016).
The stakeholders, in this case, are the members of the police, firefighters, and paramedics who are at risk of developing PTSD (Choi, Schnall, & Dobson, 2016). Taxpayers and legislators are also stakeholders. Taxpayers provide the funds that will be converted to benefits. Legislators approved of the program and will be responsible for its implementation in the institutions.
Legislation Linked to HR
The main legislation that is present in the case study is the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. It is an act that allows workers to receive compensation if they become injured during their work. This act is not universal but has nearly identical counterparts in every province of Canada. Such acts are administered by provinces and are considered “collective liability.” Workplace Safety and Insurance Act separates all of the industries it covers into groups based on the hazards that employees are likely to experience. Then all the organizations of the group become responsible for collective payment of compensation to the workers of the group. The total annual payroll figures determine the contribution rate of each organization, but a higher rate may be set for organizations with a disproportionate number of injured workers (“Workplace safety and insurance act,” 2017).
The case of Ontario giving disability benefits to workers afflicted with PTSD is directly tied to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. The legislators in the case voted to change benefit requirements for certain groups of workers.
The vote affected police, firefighters, and paramedics who are considered to be at risk of developing PTSD due to the traumatic nature of their job. By unanimously supporting the new legislation, the politicians allowed these groups of workers to receive benefits without having to prove that their condition was developed due to their work. The nature of mental disorders is often unclear, but when a person’s job relies on interaction with danger and traumatic situations, it is highly likely that PTSD is a work-related injury for these people.
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Avoiding the Issues in the Future
Two major elements need to be established to avoid further issues with this case. The first is based on legislation and involves further votes on the changes to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. As some of the legislators pointed out, the vote did not cover nurses, bailiffs, special constables, parole officers, and other groups who are also likely to develop PTSD at work. Also, the vote did not allow people who were previously rejected by the act to resubmit their application for benefits. These issues will have to be voted on to establish new legislation that allows people to receive benefits without the need to prove that their condition was developed at work. It is unclear if the same type of legislation was enacted in other territories, but if it was not, then similar bills should be created in these territories.
The second element should come from the organizations affected by the law. One of the most desirable outcomes is to avoid the development of PTSD before benefits would be required. To achieve this objective, the organizations should establish HR programs that would address the issue. For example, firefighters should have access to a therapist if they start to feel increased levels of anxiety at work. The levels of stress that workers experience should be offset by the voluntary benefits provided by an organization (Williams & Poijula, 2016; Wong, Lin, Liu, & Wan, 2014).
Connection to HR Strategies
The textbook examines various approaches to organizations providing benefits to their employees. Aside from the previously discussed benefits based on workers’ compensation acts, other strategies are presented. For example, other financial security benefits include pension plans, employment insurance, holidays, and health insurance plans. These are often federally or provincially regulated and have to be present in every organization.
However, more elaborate voluntary benefit strategies are also examined. Organizations may provide various insurance benefits, safety continuation plans, income security, and paid-time-off benefits. Some of the newest strategies include cost-of-living adjustments of pension plans, child care, prepaid legal advice, elder care, and benefits to part-time employees (Fassina, Schwind, Bulmash, Das, & Wagar, 2013).
The role of the human resources department is to take the following steps: define the objectives of the organization; link HR objectives with them; assess the needs of the employees and legal requirements; compare the benefits of the company to those provided by its competition; confirm that the benefits are valued by the workers, and conduct an annual audit. The benefits are then integrated into the wage and salary package of the company. These strategies allow the company to retain its employees and diminish the negative elements of downsizing through severance packages (Fassina et al., 2013).
The presented case was focused on the provision of benefits to employees. It covered an approval of the bill that allowed police, firefighters, and paramedics to receive benefits for PTSD without having to prove that it was developed during work activities. The case was linked to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Similar issues could be avoided by expanding the coverage of the new bill and through the implementation of additional voluntary benefits by the organizations that employ these groups of workers. The case is tightly connected to the topic of benefits and the role of the HR team, in this case, is to provide benefits according to legal requirements.
Choi, B., Schnall, P., & Dobson, M. (2016). Twenty-four-hour work shifts, increased job demands, and elevated blood pressure in professional firefighters. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 89(7), 1111–1125.
Fassina, N., Schwind, H., Bulmash, J., Das, H., & Wagar, T. (2013). Canadian human resources management (10th ed.). Toronto, Canada: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
Williams, M. B., & Poijula, S. (2016). The PTSD Workbook: Simple, effective techniques for overcoming traumatic stress symptoms. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
Wong, J.-Y., Lin, J.-H., Liu, S.-H., & Wan, T.-H. (2014). Fireman’s job stress: Integrating work/non-work conflict with Job Demand-Control-Support model. Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology, 64(2), 83–91.
Workplace safety and insurance act. (2017). Web.