The following are 2 examples of bonus incentives offered to WCB employees.
The first involves employees of Alberta WCB, the second WorksafeBC. Given all compensation boards belong to the same organization
– the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) – it’s a pretty safe bet they
all offer similar incentives.
I don’t know what burns my backside more; the fact these bonuses
are paid, or the way they defend them!
Alberta WCB workers get bonuses for
getting people back to work
By Kelly Cryderman, Calgary Herald
CALGARY — Workers
Compensation Board staff get annual bonuses for meeting such corporate goals as swiftly getting more injured workers back
to work and off benefit payments, the Alberta Liberals revealed Wednesday.
Alberta Liberal employment
critic Hugh MacDonald said the bonus system — which paid out about $8 million to all 1,500 Workers Compensation Board
employees for their performance in 2009 — could alter the decision-making process as case workers have a financial interest
in reducing the length of benefits to some injured workers
"That is wrong. That
is so unfair," MacDonald said. "It distorts the objectivity of the WCB."
letters sent to WCB staff outlining their bonuses. He said he became suspicious when many of the injured workers who approached
him and asked for his help with their cases had their benefits cut off in December, at the end of the year.
He said he is also
concerned that workers are being pushed into "modified work" — a program when workers are return to the job site and
take on a less-rigorous task while they are still recovering — even though they should be at home.
"They are making an
effort to reduce claim costs by shortening the duration of some of their WCB files," MacDonald said.
However, WCB spokeswoman
Jennifer Dagsvik said there is nothing wrong with the bonuses, saying all decisions about when a worker is fit to return to
work, and go off benefits, are based on medical advice.
"We wouldn't send
someone back to work just to make a bonus," Dagsvik said.
"If we weren't doing
it well, it would come back on us. And it isn't. We have audits that are done and people are staying successfully at work
. . . and when I say successful, I mean a healthy return to work."
Dagsvik said bonuses
of up to eight per cent of a WCB employee's annual salary are paid — an average of $5,600 in 2009 — to all 1,500
board employees if overall corporate objectives are met. The program, called goal sharing, has been in place since 1999.
In past years, the
WCB bonuses have been paid out when the number of off-work claims that last three months or longer meets a target, when letters
to workers are well-written, and when the number of employers in the Partners in Injury Reduction with a provincial safety
certificate is increased.
That program was criticized
by Alberta's auditor general this year. Auditor general Merwan Saher said numerous employers who consistently fail to follow
the province's safety rules are part of the program.
"In short, although
these employers do not comply with OHS orders, and their workers are much more likely to get injured on the job, these employers
continue to receive Partners in Injury Reduction financial rebates," the auditor general wrote in his April report.
Although the Alberta
WCB is a government-created entity, it is not a provincial department or Crown corporation but an employer-funded insurance
body. Workers' compensation boards are meant to provide workers or their families with predictable, dependable benefits in
the event of injury or death. The trade-off is workers are unable to sue their employers, in most cases.