FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2003-1 Tuesday, March 4, 2003

CONTACT:
Dean Fryer
Susan Gard
415-703-5050


Workers' portal launched by California Department of Industrial Relations
Portal offers easy access to labor and occupational safety information

San Francisco - The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has launched a new workers' portal as part of its Web site to increase access for workers. The portal makes information about the state's labor and workplace safety and health laws readily available and provides easy access to the workers' compensation and apprenticeship systems, programs the department oversees.

The portal can be entered through the DIR home page at www.dir.ca.gov or by using workitout.ca.gov.

The portal, a pilot project of the department dubbed "Work it out," was developed in response to the Davis administration's charge that state departments provide Web site information structured according to the needs of their constituencies, rather than in response to their organizational hierarchy.

Work it out's structure is based on the phases of an employee's work life, providing information to Californians looking for a job, currently working, injured on the job or leaving a job. As a pilot project with additional development dependent upon viewer response, the phase currently working is the most complete portion of the portal. A survey posted at http://workitout.ca.gov/default.asp?id=87 is designed to collect viewer responses that will be used in further development of the portal.

Under the currently working link, located in the left navigation bar and in the center column of the portal's home page, a worker can access information about the minimum wage, meal and rest breaks, temporary disability benefits or health and safety requirements in the construction or agricultural industries, among others. A portion of the portal is also available in Spanish and materials are posted in other languages such as Tagalog, Chinese and Vietnamese, a feature of the portal DIR intends to expand.

For those users looking for a job, the portal offers links from the home page that allow visitors to view California apprenticeship opportunities by trade and geographical region.

More than one year in development, Work it out will eventually be the companion to an employers' portal, which the department currently is developing.

Work it out offers viewers e-cards that contain one-sentence facts about job rights and can be sent to other Internet users, and also provides hundreds of links to other Web sites that offer legal advice and additional job opportunities.


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