Workers’ compensation insurance functions in much the same way as any other type of insurance policy. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry explains that the employer is the policyholder, and all employees, including seasonal and part-time workers, have coverage from their first day on the job until their last. There are few exceptions to this law. If someone suffers an injury or illness while on the job, the employer files a claim and the insurance company covers the cost of the benefits. 

According to the DLI, workers’ compensation benefits may include the following: 

  • The cost of medical care, including hospital and/or physician bills, examinations, treatments, prescriptions and medical devices for as long as the worker needs them 
  • Wage-loss benefits covering the loss of earnings up to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage due to a total or partial disability 
  • Specific loss benefits covering permanent loss of use of a body part, including the loss of vision or hearing and disfigurement of the face, head or neck 
  • Death benefits for surviving dependents of an employee fatally injured on the job  

Workers’ compensation covers any injury on the job except one that the worker intentionally self-inflicts or one that occurs during an illegal activity or due to intoxication. Illnesses caused by or aggravated by the job are also eligible for coverage. 

Wage-loss benefits begin after seven calendar days of disability. After 14 days off work, the employee receives payment for missed wages during the first seven days. Wage-loss benefits end when the employee returns to work earning at least as much as the pre-injury/illness wages.