Several PA Chamber supported bills were approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee last week.
House Bill 508 would phaseout the federal unemployment compensation enhancements in lieu of a return-to-work bonus. This legislation aims to help address workforce shortages employers are reporting as they struggle to fill open positions during the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee also approved H.B. 922. This legislation would clarify language in the Workers’ Compensation Act as it relates to subrogation rights. A long-standing principle of workers’ compensation has been the right of employers to be reimbursed for certain expenses if a third party is found liable for the injury. Courts have upheld so-called subrogation rights in order to hold negligent third-parties accountable, mitigate the impact on non-negligent employers and prevent double recovery by claimants. Subrogation has included allowing employers to offset future wage-loss and medical costs if the third-party recovery exceeds the compensation paid by employer. However, in the 2018 Whitmoyer decision, the PA Supreme Court found that the ability to offset future costs only applied to wage-loss benefits, not medical expenses. This legislation makes a technical change to address the Court’s concern.
The final bill considered by the committee was H.B. 1387, which would amend the Workers’ Compensation Act to require that a claimant receiving benefits from the Uninsured Employers’ Guaranty Fund demonstrate proof of wages in order to receive a wage loss benefit.
The PA Chamber voiced our support for each of these proposals in a memo sent prior to the committee vote.