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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 22, 2017 01:22 PM
From: Representative Kristin Hill
To: All House members
Subject: Clarifying Legislation to Pennsylvania's Workers Compensation Law
In the near future, I will introduce clarifying legislation to Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation Law to ensure that members of our volunteer fire companies are covered when they become injured while engaged in volunteer activities.

Recently, a constituent of mine was injured while working with the volunteer fire company at a borough carnival. The constituent is unable to work due to this injury. The Workers Compensation law protects members of volunteer fire departments or volunteer fire companies” when participating in certain activities. Since my constituent was participating in one of the statutorily prescribed activities, and she is a member of her volunteer fire company, she filed a claim for workers compensation.

To her surprise, she was denied coverage because the municipality’s insurer and the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF) interpret the meaning of the term “member” to only include firefighters.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes; and they fulfill a variety of necessary roles within our volunteer services. Treasurers, administrators, mechanics and firefighters… they’re all valued members of the volunteer services. Failing to provide these individuals with coverage against losses they suffer due to injuries they sustain while engaged in volunteer activities is unacceptable.

My legislation will remedy this issue by making it clear that when the legislature says “member” it means “any member” (which includes officers, directors, firefighters and any other member of a volunteer fire company or volunteer fire department”). Because similar language exists for volunteer ambulance corps and volunteer rescue and lifesaving squads, my legislation makes conforming changes to these subsections as well.

I urge you to join me in sending a clear message to our volunteer services –we stand with them – by cosponsoring this important legislation. Please contact Thomas Metz in my district office, at 717-428-9889 or tmetz@pahousegop.com if you have any questions about this issue or my legislation.

Introduced as HB1909