Injured Pa., Ontario Workers Receive Increased 2008 Benefits

Beginning Jan. 1, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada provided injured, out-of-work employees with increased benefit amounts or compensation maximums.

Pennsylvania workers filing workers’ compensation claims in 2008 are eligible for higher weekly benefit amounts of up to $807, a $28 increase over last year’s maximum.

Generally, Pennsylvania employees injured on the job may receive benefits equal to two-thirds of wages at the time of injury, up to a weekly maximum amount set each year. In 2007, the maximum was $779. The change in 2008 represents roughly a three-and-a-half percent raise in benefits.

“Increasing the maximum weekly benefits helps ease the financial strain on those who are unemployed, or injured and unable to work,” said Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell.

In addition to increasing benefit maximums for injured workers, Pennsylvania also offered a higher unemployment compensation weekly maximum for 2008, as well as decreased unemployment compensation taxes for both employers and workers.

Second 2.5% Benefit Increase for Injured Ontario Workers

Likewise, injured workers in Ontario will receive a two-and-a-half percent raise in benefits as of Jan. 1, the second of three planned increases for permanently, partially disabled workers in the province.

The first two-and-a-half percent increase went into effect July 1, 2007, and a third increase of the same amount is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2009. Once all benefit changes go into effect, the increases will surpass the current rate of inflation.

The higher benefits reflect changes in Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and the 2007 budget, which accommodated providing enhanced benefits for more than 155,000 injured workers.

“Our government is committed to creating a brighter future for injured workers,” said Labor Minister Brad Duguid. “We have put more money into the hands of injured workers through benefit increases and reforms to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.”

Prior to these scheduled raises, injured Ontario workers received benefit increases of less than three percent over the last 12 years.

“These benefit increases help injured workers and their families while we work to create a system that will truly and fairly benefit all workers,” Druid said.

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