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Workers' Compensation

Pennsylvania: Injured Worker's Decision to Stay Home With Children Results in Lost Benefits

Where an injured employee decided to resign from his modified-duty position and stay at home to care for his children while his wife worked outside the home, it was appropriate for a WCJ to suspend the employee's wage loss benefits, finding he had removed himself from the workforce, held a Pennsylvania appellate court. The state's Board should not, therefore, have reversed the WCJ's decision. Here, said the appellate court, the employer produced sufficient evidence to support a finding that the claimant has voluntarily left the workforce. The burden then shifted to claimant to show that his loss of earning power was due to his injury and not his personal decision to remain out of work. Here, the claimant had admitted he could have accepted a relatively low-paying position. His point, however, was that his pay would not have been enough to make it worthwhile, since he could stay at home with the children and avoid the expense of child care. The court said that under the requirements of the Workers' Compensation Act, his personal decision to remain out of work required that he forfeit his wage loss benefits.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Respironics v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Mika), 2020 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 401 (May 22, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 84.04.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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