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Workers' Compensation

Adjudication

Hearing Procedure Updates:

As of Monday, February 28, 2022, the mask mandate for all Commonwealth employees and contracted vendors was lifted. Although encouraged, masks are now not required to be worn by employees, contractors or visitors while doing business at Commonwealth offices.

In response to the lifting of the mask mandate, the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication (WCOA) will take the following initiatives:

    • Workers' Compensation Judges (WJC) may now exercise their discretion to schedule mediations virtually or in-person;

    • WCJ’s are encouraged to continue to schedule non-testimonial hearings (pre-trials, status listings, supersedeas hearings, uncontested matters, etc.) virtually through Microsoft Teams. Recognizing that there may be circumstances requiring an in-person hearing for non-testimonial matters, counsel are instructed to follow current protocols to request a change: file an appropriate WCAIS request with the adjudicating WCJ listing the reasons for the request as well as the position of opposing counsel/party. The type of request to be filed is listed in the updated Judges' Procedural Rules and Policies which can also be found on your WCAIS Dashboard in the "General Information" tab of the "Dispute Summary."

    • For hearings at which testimony is expected, the individual WCJ will exercise adjudicatory discretion to schedule the hearing in-person or virtually. Should counsel or a party disagree and wish to change the listing from virtual to in-person, or vice versa, they may file an appropriate request listing the reasons for the request as well as the position of opposing counsel. The type of request to be filed is listed in the updated Judges' Procedural Rules & Policies which can also be found on your WCAIS Dashboard in the "General Information" tab of the "Dispute Summary."

These matters should be discussed by counsel/parties prior to and at the first listing of the dispute before the adjudicating WCJ.


Statute Notice:

On December 22, 2021, Governor Wolf signed into law Act 95 of 2021 permanently amending the language of Section 449(c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Pertaining to the obligation that Claimant’s signature on a Compromise and Release (C & R) agreement be attested to by two witnesses or notarized, the statute now includes the following language:

However, the attestation by two witnesses or acknowledgment before a notary public shall not be required if the employee, widow or widower or dependent appears before the workers' compensation judge for the purposes of a hearing required under subsection (b) and provides a sworn oral statement that he or she understands the full legal significance of the agreement. 

The statute goes into effect on February 20, 2022. Currently, attestation or notarization is not required under a temporary extension of the Governor’s Disaster Declaration suspension of that section of the Act which was due to expire on March 31, 2022. Act 95 of 2021 makes the change permanent.



Announcements


  • WC FORMS NOTICE: The workers' compensation forms listed on the Department of Labor & Industry Adjudication Forms are provided for your immediate use. However, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation and the Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication require their use on the effective dates noted on the form. Previous versions of these forms submitted after their effective dates will not be accepted and will be returned to the filing party.

  • CIMS Claims Converted to WCAIS (effective September 2013).

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