Between 1900 and 1950 most of today’s legally required employee benefits were developed. Political and social forces influenced a transformation of individual and societal value systems, including a shift of substantial personal welfare responsibility from the individual to governments and businesses. Workers’ compensation, America’s first social insurance, ushered in legally required strategies designed to provide for workers’ particular needs. In addition, the Social Security Act of 1935 provided old age retirement payments and created an unemployment insurance program, among other things. Each of these came into being amid much debate, and America’s political, economic, social, and business structures were changed forever with their passage.
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