Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has signed legislation creating a fund to pay injured workers whose employers lack workers compensation coverage.
The same bill — HB 2738 — increases the minimum amount an injured worker can receive for total disability or death to $100 per week.
The bill also includes a section codifying the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, outlining its internal procedures and providing for a code of ethics for board members. The bill prohibits the Department of Labor and Industry from assigning more than 75 percent of petitions from a particular county to one workers compensation judge and bill prohibits counsel fees from exceeding 20 percent of the amount either awarded by the judge or agreed to by settlement.
The Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund which the bill creates is meant to provides for compensation to injured employees when their employer fails to maintain workers’ compensation coverage. The fund is to be funded by assessments, reimbursements and interest income earned.
The bill, sponsored by Bob L. Allen (R-Berks), passed the House 189-0 and the Senate 48-0. The bill becomes effective in 60 days, except the provisions relating to resolution hearings and the appeals board which become effective immediately.
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