Workers' compensation insurance benefits employers as well as employees. This insurance covers lost wages and medical costs for workers injured during the course of work. Additionally, fault is not usually a factor when an employee is injured. There are a few important points to consider, particularly when it comes to employer exemptions in Pennsylvania.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, some employers are not obligated to carry this insurance. For example, federal employees are covered by other laws governing workers' comp. The same is true of railway employees and longshoremen. In this case, state coverage would not be necessary for employers to remain in compliance with prevailing laws. Farmworkers are also exempt under certain circumstances. If a farmworker earns less than $1,200 during a single year for a single employer, this worker would not need to be covered. Coverage for domestic workers is also optional under existing laws.
There are also cases where an injury wouldn't be eligible for coverage, even if the employer was obligated to carry insurance. The Balance offers a few examples of when coverage wouldn't be applicable, such as injuries that involved a violation of company policy. Self-inflicted injuries are also not covered, and may even be construed as fraud depending on the situation. The worker must also be on the job to obtain benefits. This doesn't mean the employee must be at work, however, just that he or she must be performing a work task when the injury takes place.
While workers' comp is designed to protect employers against employee lawsuits, in some situations a worker may be able to file. If a worker was assigned a job that he or she was not qualified to perform and was subsequently injured, a lawsuit would valid. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an employee due to a workers' comp claim. Retaliatory practices, such as firing or demoting an injured worker, are prohibited according to state and federal law and carry serious penalties as a result.