Is It Workers' Compensation or Workers Compensation?

Posted on Sun Feb 24 2013 by Vincent Jesuele

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I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lot of confusion about the apostrophe in the phrase “workers’ compensation.” I’ve seen ”workers compensation,” ”workers’ compensation,” and even ”worker’s compensation.” So which is correct?

Well, it depends on who you ask. In both New Jersey and New York, the state uses the plural possessive: workers’. The website The Grammar Logs agrees that you should use workers’. This is also the punctuation that Wikipedia favors (though ”workers compensation” is also used several times in the article, and there’s a bit of a debate on the Talk page).

On the other hand, the National Council on Compensation insurance, which bills itself as “the largest provider of workers compensation and employee injury data and statistics in the nation,” does not use the apostrophe. Neither does State Farm or Bolt Insurance.

The punctuation worker’s is not very popular, but it still has its adherents, including the state governments of both Indiana and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the State of Colorado can’t seem to make up its mind: this page from their Division of Insurance uses all three punctuations! The federal government is also inconsistent; it usually prefers workers’ but sometimes uses worker’s.

And then there’s this guy, who says that all three are acceptable, and which one you choose depends upon your personality. (Cute.)

So what’s the verdict? There is support for all three punctuations, but ”workers’ compensation” seems to be the most popular by far, and it’s the punctuation that I use as well. Therefore, unless you have strong feelings on the matter, I’d advise you to write ”workers’ compensation.”

Which punctuation do you prefer?

Filed under For LawyersWorkers' Comp