Like most of the fifty states, Pennsylvania is an “at-will” employment state, meaning that an employer may fire an employee at any time, for any reason without recourse. In turn, employees may quit their job at any time without reason or recourse by an employer. The coronavirus pandemic has subjected an unprecedented number of Pennsylvanians to layoffs and furloughs.
Furloughs and layoffs are not altogether that distinct. The difference between a furlough and a layoff is strictly based on the employment relationship. Furloughed workers are typically considered employees of their organization during their unpaid leave of absence whereas workers who have been laid off are considered former employees.
However, most importantly, the distinction between furloughs and layoffs does not affect a worker’s eligibility to apply for and receive workers’ compensation benefits. Whether furloughed or laid off, a worker’s rights to collect and eligibility are identical. The distinction may be lessened by the fact that employers may rehire a laid-off worker and employers may layoff a furloughed worker at the end of that furlough.
If a worker is injured before the furlough, he or she may still have time to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive medical treatment for the work-related injury. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, notice is required with 120 days of the injury. Thus, if an injury, illness, or disease is work-related and suffered before the furlough, an injured worker may still have enough time to report the injury to his or her employer and qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The process for filing and receiving approval of workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania is complicated. Claimants are required to provide a long list of information in the form of medical records and other necessary documentation. This information must be collected, organized, and presented within certain procedures and deadlines. Powell Law has represented injured workers for 115 years and has a distinguished reputation throughout northeastern Pennsylvania for adhering to the highest standards in serving those injured on the job. Contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE, and you don’t pay unless we win!