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Archive for August, 2017

EEOC Pay Data Collection Paused by the Office of Management and Budget

eeoc workers compensationThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s collection of pay data has been paused by the Office of Management and Budget after recent expansions to the collection were deemed “unnecessarily burdensome.” The largest office in the White House had initiated a review and immediate stay of the EEOC’s collection of information regarding pay data on the reports, which are called EEO-1s. This would have required all businesses that employ more than 100 staffers to submit information on gender, race and ethnicity on their forms.

The new report originally had a deadline of March 31, which was expected to cover around 60,000 employers and 63 million employees. Republican lawmakers had asked the Trump administration’s office to lift the requirements. Although the lawmakers thought the intentions of the EEOC were good, which was to collect information that could show pay discrimination in the workforce, the process would have created far more work than they felt was necessary for the research.

The Office of Management and Budget said the EEOC could use its previously approved form. However, the new expansion and revisions that require information on wages and hours worked from specific employers need to be given a second look to ensure there isn’t needless burden placed on the companies. The OMB told the EEOC in a memo that they have concerns over some aspects of the revised collection of information. Specifically, they are concerned the forms lacked practical utility and put too much burden while also not adequately addressing issues of privacy and confidentiality.

The EEOC acting Chair Vicki Lipnic has stated this decision won’t alter or deter the EEOC from its efforts to enforce equal pay laws and that the regulator will continue to review the order and look into new options. Lipnic stated she will “stand ready to work with Congress, federal agencies, and all stakeholders to achieve that goal.”

The EEOC had finalized the rule back in September under then-Chair Jenny Yang, who said at the time discrimination is often not detected because there is not enough information regarding how much people are being paid. Yang had said this type of information would be helpful in agency investigations on equal pay. However, there are still concerns over the discrepancy between the EEOC’s estimate of the cost of the collection with a survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which showed the actual cost is much higher than estimated. Further, this extra information, while potentially useful for investigation, has the potential to lead to several serious issues that include data security and privacy concerns while information about worker compensation is collected.

The information found by the EEOC could greatly impact how Worker’s Compensation and other benefits are calculated, along with other serious implications in the workforce. Contact us at Vanasse Law for help with Worker’s Compensation claims in Lancaster.

What Every Pennsylvania Worker Should Know About Worker’s Compensation

work injury accident

Worker’s Compensation is a type of insurance coverage that helps financially and medically support injured workers that have been harmed on the job as they recover. The benefits aim to cover the daily life of workers while they take on the healing process to rejoin the work force. However, too few workers in Pennsylvania are aware of the potential coverage and how the benefits work.

How are the Claims Handled in Pennsylvania?

There are two separate laws that govern and regulate Worker’s Compensation claims in the state of Pennsylvania: the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Disease Act. The two pieces of legislation are enforced by special administrative judges, referred to as Worker’s Compensation judges. When an appeal occurs, it is handled by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board. Only under rare and extenuating circumstances is a claim heard by the local Court of Common Pleas.

How Soon Should an Employer be Informed of a Work Injury?

There are time limits on claims that must be adhered to in order to retain rights to benefits. As such, the sooner an employer is informed of a work injury, the better. A worker has up to 30 days from the first manifestation of an injury, illness or disease to inform the employer. However, there is no advantage to waiting whereas there are many benefits to informing the employer right away.

When Should I Expect the Insurance Company to Pay for Medical Expenses?

The insurance company is required to pay all medical expenses within 30 days from the time they receive the bills and records from the healthcare provider. In most cases, an insurer won’t pay bills without informing the injured worker. However, in many cases, the injured worker won’t know there was a failure to pay until the health care provider informs them rather than the insurer. If an insurer fails to pay a claimant’s bills, they take on the risk for penalties of non-payment.

Is It Possible to Receive a Lump Sum Settlement?

Nearly all claimants are eligible to receive a lump sum settlement but the amount awarded depends on the severity of the injury, how much the worker earned on the job prior to becoming injured, how the physician treating the injury describes the injury and many other relevant factors. In some cases, a lump sum is not the best strategy, depending on the circumstances of the case.

At Vanasse Law LLC, we have years of focused experience in Worker’s Compensation claims. If you are unsure of how to proceed with your claim, contact us today to talk to a seasoned professional.

What are the Six Types of Worker’s Compensation in Pennsylvania, Part Two

Forging a new claim under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act can be daunting. The beginning stages can be tough and can determine how smoothly your recovery will go. In the last blog post, we explored half of the six types of Worker’s Compensation and how they work to aid workers in their recovery process after a work-related injury.

In this post, we will look at the other three types of Worker’s Compensation in Pennsylvania and what can be covered by insurance after a work injury.

Medical Expenses

Any medical care that is necessary for recovery and is deemed reasonable and medically-related to your work injury is required to be covered by the employer. This can extend beyond the typical doctor’s visitations such as the cost of renovations to a home or vehicle for those that are severely injured. Unlike other types of compensation, there is no real limit or restriction on medical expense coverage. This is to ensure injured workers receive the necessary care to return to the work force.

worker injury safety shoe

Specific Loss Benefits

Not all cases are cut and dry. In some cases, an injury can result in a bigger loss than goes beyond typical coverage under the Act. Payment for such injuries is equal to total disability benefit rates for the same time period and healing periods after the injury. Examples of such injuries include loss of hearing or vision, along with amputation of a body part such as fingers, hands and toes.

Death Benefits

When injury leads to death, there can still be compensation involved. If the worker injured dies as the result of an occupational injury or illness within 300 weeks of the injury or of the last exposure to the hazard that led to the condition, the family may collect benefits. This includes $3,000 for funeral expenses and the widow or widower is entitled to the compensation the worker would have received if they did not die until he or she remarries.

Children of the worker are also entitled to compensation until the turn 18 years old, or 23 years old if they are in school such as an accredited college. The benefits collected by the children or the spouse is equal to the percentage of what the deceased worker would have made on average. This becomes the same amount that would have been collected in a total disability case.

If you or your loved one was injured at work, your family is entitled to compensation. Contact our law firm today to find out how our expertise can help your claim.

What are the Six Types of Worker’s Compensation in Pennsylvania, Part One

work injuryOriginally passed in 1915, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was set forth as a state-wide insurance system on a no-fault basis aimed to provide injured workers with benefits, lost wages and medical coverage. The intent of the Act is not to replace all wages for the worker but to give a percentage of wages to help aid recovery after a work-related injury. The Act also does not cover non-economic damages. This means if pain and suffering come as a result of injury, the worker will have to pursue those damages separately.

Depending on the injury, workers will be eligible for different coverage under the Act. There are six types of Worker’s Compensation in Pennsylvania, leading to better coverage for different types of injury. The categories are important to understand after injury as pursuing the wrong type could lead to denial of coverage or you may receive less coverage than you were entitled to.

Total Disability Benefits

In most cases, total disability benefits are paid as long as the person is not able to work if supported by medical documents. There will often be a medical exam after two years to determine if the person is able to return to work or if coverage will continue. In cases where the worker is found to have less than a 50% whole body impairment, the benefits may be limited to a maximum of 500 weeks and will be considered to be partially disabled and weekly payments will stay the same. However, insurance companies will be able to attempt to lower the disability benefits by offering vocational rehabilitation during those 500 weeks of partial disability benefits.

Partial Disability Benefits

These benefits are available for up to 500 weeks after the partial disability status has been determined either by an official exam or if the doctor under the insurance carrier feels the worker has the capacity to perform light-duty work. Partial disability is a way of saying the person is not fully recovered from the injury and be offered a new position to fit their disability. If the new position pays less than the position held prior to injury, the worker is entitled to two-thirds of the difference in average weekly wage.

Expenses for Travel

Under the Act, expenses to travel to and from medical providers are not reimbursable but workers may be entitled to compensation if the travel for treatment is not available in their community. If you are not able to travel on your own to the treatment, insurance is also required to provide transportation to the Independent Medical Examination needed to determine coverage.

These three are the first to understand the types of coverage when seeking Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you have questions about your claim, contact us today to work with a law firm well-versed in the laws surrounding Workers’ Compensation.