Injured Worker Entitled to Benefits After Transferring to a Position with Less Hours and Pay
August 14, 2019
By John W. Zatkos, Jr., Esquire
In Miller v. Philadelphia School District, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) recently determined that a claimant can secure ongoing benefits after transferring to another job with another employer for less hours and earnings. After sustaining and treating a back injury, the injured worker went to work at a different school with lighter duties and less hours. Facing a termination of benefits, the worker filed a Reinstatement Petition. The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) did not issue a determination for several months and the worker testified twice as to the physical and monetary differences between her previous job and her current one. The employer argued it was entitled to a remand. The WCAB held that the employer had ample opportunity for eight months after the injured worker filed for reinstatement of benefits to question her regarding the reason for the transfer. Therefore, the defendant cannot now argue that it was entitled to revisit the issue.
What Does This Mean? The employer has an obligation to follow through with its investigation when an injured employee has taken an alternative position paying less after an injury with a different employer. Employees are permitted to seek alternative employment if none is available with the time-of-injury employer, and still maintain the potential right to partial compensation benefits if they take a new position at lesser pay while still suffering from the work injury.
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