Lay Off and Plant Closures:  The Effect on Injured Workers

This week in Philadelphia, two major employers recently announced they would be closing their doors for good: Hahnemann University Hospital and PES’ South Philadelphia Oil Refinery. With these recent announcements, many injured workers’ employed by these companies may be asking: what next?

Let’s face it: as an injured worker, the last thing you want to worry about is your employer going out of business since you’re already worrying about getting back to work.  There is also the financial hardship of being out of work and worrying about how to pay your bills. While this is a very stressful experience for many, the good news is that there’s a silver lining.

An employer who is going out of business should have workers’ compensation insurance to cover all employees who are injured on the job.  If you are currently working with restrictions on light duty or if you injured yourself within the past 120 days and are uncomfortable reporting an injury, you need to listen very carefully.

YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO WORKERS COMPENSATION WAGE LOSS AND MEDICAL BENEFITS!

Those employees who are working with restrictions at the time the business closes would be entitled to payment of wage loss and medical benefits.  You should elect to go under Workers Compensation rather than use Sick Pay or Unemployment Compensation. Workers’ Compensation Benefits are TAX FREE, while Sick Pay and Unemployment Compensation Benefits are NOT.

Employees who injured themselves within the last four (4) months and did not report an injury immediately should report the injury ASAP!  Time is of the essence. You do not want to wait any longer.

As long as you report an injury within 120 days of the accident, you give yourself an opportunity to collect workers compensation benefits.  Your employer may try to steer you toward unemployment compensation or sick pay but neither of these cover you and your injuries long term.

Do not turn down an opportunity to collect wage loss and medical benefits when your employer closes their doors.