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Christian Petrucci, Christian Petrucci,

There are few instances where an employer can take self-help measures to suspend compensation benefits of an injured worker, without a judge’s approval or some other competent authority directing the action. Incarceration following a conviction is one of them. Under Section 306(a.1) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an employer is not required to pay indemnity benefits “for any period during which the employee is incarcerated after a conviction.” While that phrase seems simple enough, the question often arises, what constitutes “incarceration after a conviction,” authorizing the automatic suspension.

Last month, the Commonwealth Court revisited the issue in the matter of Sadler v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Philadelphia Coca-Cola), __ A.3d___(Pa. Commw., No. 218 C.D. 2019, filed May 22), which is worth reviewing in order to familiarize oneself with the issue. While the court also addressed a significant issue regarding the calculation of an average weekly wage, that portion of the case is beyond the scope of this article.

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