Respect for Dignity of Work Entails Social Benefits

One of Saint John Paul II’s better known encyclicals is Laborem Exercens (On Human Work). This encyclical considers how work is not only important for what is produced but for how it builds up the dignity of the human person.  Saint John Paul observes: “Work is a good thing for man – a good thing for his humanity – because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes ‘more a human being.'”

This encyclical also stresses the importance of social benefits that should be provided as a part of work: “Besides wages, various social benefits, intended to ensure the life and health of workers and their families play a part here.” Medicaid is often one way to offer health coverage when workers have jobs that do not include health benefits. This happens, for example, when persons have one or two part-time jobs but not the full-time employment at one job necessary to qualify for the usual health benefits.


Posted: April 25, 2014

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