Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation

pennsylvania worker's compensation text overlaying image of philadelphia skyline If you run a business and have employees, you’ll need to purchase Pennsylvania workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, this type of insurance is a requirement in most states, including Pennsylvania, with some exceptions. It helps pay your employees’ medical bills if they sustain an injury on the job. It also limits your liability for workplace accidents, is a requirement in most states, including Pennsylvania, with some exceptions.

In Pennsylvania, business owners can expect to pay, on average, $1.34 for every $100 of covered payroll. That means, for example, a business with a total annual payroll of $100,000 will pay approximately $1,340 per year for workers’ compensation insurance, or around $111 a month. This is only a rough estimate, since factors such as your location, the different rates for staffing types (laborers vs office workers), and your claims history can all have a significant impact on your rates.

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One of the biggest factors in determining your rates for workers’ compensation insurance is your employees’ risk, or the likelihood of a workplace injury occurring at your business. To assist insurers in determining risk exposure, and to get the best rates for your business, you can use a variety of workers’ compensation class codes. This is important because it costs more to insure certain employees. For example, office employees may have lower workers’ compensation costs than those who work outside of your office and face more risks.


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What’s Covered

If an employee sustains an injury on the job or becomes ill due to workplace conditions, workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania will help them with their medical bills. The average weekly wage of the employee determines the workers’ compensation benefits. The amount depends on the type of claim.

In general, workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania covers:

  • Accidents and injuries – If your employee needs medical attention, workers’ compensation will cover any medical expenses from a workplace injury.
  • Illness – If an employee becomes sick from exposure to allergens or other hazardous materials at work, they can also receive workers’ comp benefits to help pay for treatment.
  • Repetitive injury – It’s not just accidents that are covered: treatment for repetitive injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, are also covered by workers’ compensation. 
  • Ongoing care – If your employee still has medical needs as a direct result of their accident or illness, even after they return to work, they can get benefits for ongoing care. This also includes additional doctor’s appointments or additional surgeries.

In addition, if their accident or illness results in permanent or temporary disability, your employee will receive weekly or lump sum payments. If they have a temporary disability, their injury prevents your employee from performing their job. But they can return to work as normal once they recover. If a doctor diagnoses them with an injury from which they will not fully recover, they have a permanent disability. 

These categories fall into the following classifications:

  1. Temporary total disability (TTD) – These payments will be made if your employee is not able to work at all while recuperating.
  2. Temporary partial disability (TPD) – TPD payments will be made if your employee can still work, but only with certain limitations, such as needing to perform lighter duties or work fewer hours. If your company does not provide work that meets these requirements, the employee may still be eligible for these payments.
  3. Permanent total disability (PTD) – Employees who are unable to work due to an accident or illness, even after they have recovered as much as they are likely to, will be eligible for PTD payments.
  4. Permanent partial disability (PPD) – Employees who have permanent difficulties but can work with them will be eligible for PPD.


Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits

In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation death benefits will generally be available to the dependents of an employee who dies due to a work-related injury. Compensation payments can begin on the day of the employee’s death.

The following people are considered dependents in Pennsylvania:

  • Spouses
  • Children under the age of 18, or full-time students up to the age of 23
  • Children of any age who are mentally or physically disabled
  • Parents who relied on the deceased’s financial support
  • Siblings under the age of 18 or who are students enrolled full-time (up to the age of 23) who relied on the deceased worker for financial support

Workers’ compensation death benefits include a $3,000 payment for burial expenses.


Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

In Pennsylvania, employers legally have to carry workers’ compensation insurance for all employees. According to Pennsylvania law, any employee who sustains and injury on the job is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including a percentage of their lost wages and reimbursement for medical expenses, regardless of whether the employee works full-time, part-time, or seasonal hours.

The only circumstance in which a Pennsylvania employer is not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance is if all employees fall into an exempt category, such as railroad workers, longshoremen, federal employees, and domestic workers.

You do not need workers’ compensation if you are self-employed, or a sole proprietor. Although Pennsylvania does not require coverage in this case, it is available if desired, and is generally a good idea to purchase it, since self-employed workers can still receive lost-wage and other benefits from a workers’ compensation policy. It’s also possible that if you don’t have your own insurance, a company looking to hire you as an independent contractor might be hesitant to work with you.

Anyone who is exempt from workers’ comp must files exemption applications and other documentation with the Department of Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which regulates the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system.


How to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Pennsylvania, you can buy a workers’ compensation insurance policy from a private insurance carrier that is licensed to offer workers’ compensation insurance. 

If you are unable to acquire coverage from a private company, you can purchase a policy from the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF). This program ensures that employers can obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Even if standard-market insurance companies are unwilling to provide coverage for their business. 

If you need help finding a policy, Ez’s agents can help sort through all of your options. And find you the best workers’ comp insurance for your business.

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How to Get the Most Savings

The majority of the cost of workers’ compensation comes from factors beyond your control. However, there are still ways to save. Implementing a safety program is a great way to reduce workplace injuries and claims, which will lower your premiums. So regardless of your industry, it is important to have safety and standard operating procedures in place. Employees who have safety training are less vulnerable to injuries, lowering your workers’ compensation costs.

It is also a good idea to regularly review your claims history. Evaluating your claims history on a regular basis can help you identify and correct patterns. You might discover that certain aspects of your business operations are frequently causing claims. This allows you to adjust the operation to make it safer. You can also save money by keeping an eye on potentially dangerous operations.

Correctly classifying your employees is one of the most effective ways to save money. When you apply for your workers’ compensation policy, you will classify each of your employees depending on their job’s risk. And this risk classification influences the cost of your workers’ compensation. For example, you might pay less to insure an office worker than you would a manual laborer. It’s also important to correctly classify your employees because you may receive a fine if you fail to do so.

Begin a free online application today to compare workers’ compensation insurance quotes for your small business from leading U.S. insurers. EZ’s agents specialize in insurance for a wide range of small businesses. Working with our agents can save you hundreds of dollars a year on coverage.


Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation FAQs

  • Are you required to have workers’ compensation insurance in Pennsylvania?

Yes, in Pennsylvania, the majority of employers have to have workers’ compensation. If you don’t maintain workers’ compensation coverage, you may face criminal charges. You could face a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail. If the failure to comply is deliberate, you can have a felony charge with a fine of up to $15,000 and up to seven years in prison. Criminal charges, fines, penalties, and jail time can also increase for each day that you fail to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.

  • How do workers’ compensation settlements work in Pennsylvania?

Settlements allow all parties involved to close a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. In most cases, the injured employee gives up his or her right to future claims in exchange for a monetary settlement. A settlement payment will frequently be made in the form of a lump sum. However, some injured workers will receive benefits in the form of a structured settlement, which means that payments will be made in installments over time.

  • What is the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a claim petition for an on-the-job injury is three years from the date of injury. Additionally, the claimant must seek treatment from an approved healthcare provider within 90 days of the injury. There is also a 120-day deadline for informing employers of the injury.


Why Use EZ

We do everything in our power to make shopping for workers’ compensation insurance as easy and stress-free as possible. We also give each of our customers our undivided attention. As soon as you fill out our form, you will receive instant, free quotes from your dedicated agent. Who will give you personalized service and will work to understand your needs. We want to ensure that you get the best coverage at the best price. Our services are completely free so check out your quotes today!

If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-670-3538. You will speak to a local insurance agent who can answer all of your questions. We can also help you find the workers’ compensation policy that works best for your business.

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About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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