Pennsylvania workers’ comp 101

As an employer in Pennsylvania, you need to know the specific workers’ compensation insurance laws that will affect your small business. Here are the basics to help you get started.

Top 10 facts about workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania

  1. In 1915, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. The statute defines the benefits available to Pennsylvania workers, the conditions under which benefits are available and the procedures for obtaining them.
  2. In Pennsylvania, workers’ comp insurance is mandatory for most employers with one or more employees, whether they’re part-time or full-time.
  3. Some employers are exempt from workers’ compensation coverage. This includes people covered under other workers’ comp acts, like railroad workers, longshoremen, and federal employees; domestic servants (coverage is optional); agricultural workers who work less than 30 days or earn less than $1,200 in a calendar year from one employer; and employees who have been granted an exemption due to religious beliefs or their executive status in certain corporations.
  4. There are four ways a business can obtain workers’ comp coverage in Pennsylvania:
    – Purchase a policy through an insurance agent or broker
    – Purchase coverage from a private sector insurance carrier (The Consumer Guide to Workers’ Compensation Insurance, produced by the Pennsylvania – Insurance Department, can help.)
    – Apply for self-insurance status
    – Secure insurance through the State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF)
  5. Pennsylvania state law requires business owners to provide workers’ comp coverage to any employee, even spouses and children.
  6. You are required by law to post in a prominent place at your business’ main headquarters and all satellite sites of employment a notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of who workers should contact regarding workers’ comp questions or claims.
  7. If a business in Pennsylvania does not provide workers’ comp coverage for its workers, misdemeanor convictions may result in a $2,500 fine and up to one year in imprisonment for each day the employer is in violation. Felony convictions may result in a $15,000 fine and up to seven years imprisonment for each day the employer intentionally violated the requirement.
  8. Bureau Codes, or Insurance Carrier Codes, are unique identifiers assigned by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to insurers licensed and approved by the Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau. Bureau Codes also are assigned to employers approved by the Bureau to self-insure their workers’ comp liability.
  9. In 2019, there were 154 fatal work injuries in Pennsylvania ( U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  10. Businesses can request their workers’ comp claims records by mail or fax. You must specify your relationship in the request. Requests should be sent to:

Records Section, Claims Management Division
Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
1171 S. Cameron St., Room 109
Harrisburg, PA 17104-2501
Fax: 717-783-6365 or 717-783-6366

Remember, every situation is different and state workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.

Remember, every situation is different and state workers’ compensation laws are subject to change, so be sure to do your research and speak with a trusted advisor.

Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, you should refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner, learn more about workers’ compensation insurance or check your current rate in 3 minutes.

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