Pennsylvania Statutory Employer Status Clarified By State Supreme Court

As has been recently reported in the news a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the case of Six L’s Packing Co. vs WCAB will broaden the impact of statutory employer status within that state. Previously identified as an area of ambiguity in the states workers compensation act, this decision will mean certain contractors may now be viewed as statutory employers, and be required to provide benefits where they may not have had to do so in the past.

This decision addresses the statutory employer situation, usually created in a contractor, subcontractor environment. The claimant in this case, not an employee but a driver hired by another firm contracted to deliver product to a processing plant, was injured in an accident in Pennsylvania. His hiring company did not carry workers compensation. The claimant then filed against Six L’s for benefits, indicating that they were his statutory employer.

While the court stated it recognized the ambiguity arising out of differences in the definitions for “contractor” as used in many provisions of the workers compensation act, it found that any person or business contracting work that is “performed of a kind which is a regular or recurrent part of the business, occupation, profession or trade” must provide those performing that work with workers compensation coverage.

As mentioned above, this will have the effect of broadening the statutory employer status of many Pennsylvania employers. Some employers who may in the past have not been viewed as statutory employers, may now be. Employers will now need to be more aware of their statutory employer status, how it may effect them and what they can do to protect themselves!

Hope this helps you out! Thanks!