Employees are one of the biggest assets a company can have, and employers know it. The government also knows it, which is why the law extends various protections to workers in many nations. For instance, it is your right as a worker to work in a safe and healthy workplace, free from issues like racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and emotional abuse.
Your working conditions can have numerous effects on your productivity, health, and overall wellness. This is why regulatory agencies like OSHA step in to ensure employers comply with the set standards guarding the rights of employees while at work. As a worker, here are a few reasons why you should understand your working conditions clearly.
You Understand Privileges and Entitlements Better
The law prohibits employers from overworking their staff. This is why there is a set maximum of hours you should work per week, usually 40 as per the Fair Labor Standards Act Amendment of 1940. Going by this, workers are entitled to fair compensation for any extra hours worked outside regular time.
Moreover, full-time employees are also entitled to various types of leave, including paternity leave (2 weeks), sick leave, maternity leave (3 months), and annual leave. As for the latter, there are few leave loading facts that most people often misunderstand. For instance, annual leave can be payable or not, depending on the employment contract, the enterprise agreement, and the employee’s award. Only employees with an award or enterprise agreement coverage may be entitled to payment when on annual leave.
If you understand your working conditions, you also get to understand other entitlements such as:
- Job promotion
- Fair payment and compensation
- Medical and disability insurance
- Pensions and retirement benefits (depending on your employment contract and job type)
- Life insurance (if available)
Your Health and Safety
It is the obligation of your employer to ensure that your workplace is safe and free of health dangers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes broad guidelines that apply to all businesses, such as providing workers with safety equipment and ensuring that workplaces are free of harmful materials. It also establishes industry-specific norms, particularly in hazardous professions like construction and fisheries.
Training is necessary for safety, and businesses must give this training in a language that employees understand. Workers also have the right to register complaints if statutory requirements aren’t satisfied, and they must be given access to relevant records, such as occupational injury data. If you suspect your company is failing to provide safe and healthy conditions in the workplace, you have the right to call an OSHA inspector and request lab tests to evaluate whether hazardous substances are present.
It Impacts Productivity
Workplace conditions can have a giant impact on morale and overall productivity. Furthermore, healthy working environments preserve employees’ well-being by lowering the likelihood of workplace injuries. It also goes a long way in taking care of any ensuing financial responsibilities and the need for time off. Better employee performance and higher revenues are some of the rewards enjoyed by small business owners who prioritize workplace upgrades and foster a pleasant culture.
Freedom from Discrimination
Emotional safeguards, such as the right to work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination, are also part of good working conditions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission strives to protect workers’ rights to work in a safe, welcoming workplace, particularly where the slights and discrimination are based on race, religion, age, handicap, or gender.
When an employee is obliged to endure discrimination as a condition of employment or when the situation is extreme enough for a reasonable person to consider the workplace abusive or hostile, it is specifically illegal. While workplace discrimination is generally the result of an unequal distribution of power, perhaps between an employer and their employee, it can also come from bully coworkers or even customers.
It is not even necessary for the individual bringing the complaint to be directly harassed. You have a legal right to register a complaint and seek external remediation if you see hostile behavior directed at a coworker that makes you feel very uncomfortable.
Sense of Belonging
Nothing is more important than working in a company where you feel wanted and as if you belong. Especially if your current workplace promotes career growth and job satisfaction, the feeling is unlike any other. However, this might not be the case if you don’t clearly understand the working conditions. If you know the work environment and conditions, you can easily decide whether the job is worth applying for, or whether it is worth staying in your current position/company.
We can go on and on about it, but the writing is on the wall. The workplace conditions affect an employee’s morale, productivity, fulfillment, and a lot of other things. The above pointers clearly point out the reasons why this is important.