Workplace injuries and illnesses are harmful to both employers and employees. An employee’s life can be completely disrupted when he or she needs to recover from an on-the-job injury, and the employer’s business is less productive while the worker is out. Because employers benefit from healthy employees, Pennsylvania law gives employers certain duties to help injured or ill employees get the workers’ compensation benefits they need.
Pennsylvania Insurance Requirements
Pennsylvania law requires all employers with at least one employee in the state who could become injured or ill while on the job to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers must have workers’ compensation insurance even if all employees are part-time workers.
Employers must post the name and contact information of the workers’ compensation insurer in a prominent place so that employees can find the information.
Steps Employers Must Take After Accidents
After an employee reports an on-the-job injury or illness to the employer, the employer has several obligations. The employer must file a First Report of Injury Form with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and the workers’ compensation insurer. The employer must answer all requests for further information about the incident or the employee’s wages or job duties that the insurer or DLI makes.
Furthermore, the employer has a duty not to retaliate or discriminate against employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims. Retaliation can be as blatant as termination of the employee, but can also include more subtle actions such as reducing an employee’s wages or changing the employee’s job duties.
Penalties for Failure to Meet Duties
The penalties for employers who fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance can be severe. The state may choose to prosecute the employer criminally. Inadvertent failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. Intentional failure to insure is a felony.
The employer may end up owing substantial fines for each day the business operated without complying with insurance requirements.
Consult an Attorney
If you have been injured on the job and you believe that your employer is not meeting his or her responsibilities under workers’ compensation law, talk to a lawyer who can help you obtain the benefits you need to recover from your injuries.