The State of Pennsylvania Act 57 Explained

Act 57 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, which was enacted on June 24, 1996, represented a significant reform aimed at addressing the increasing costs of workers’ compensation in the state of PA, while balancing the rights and protections afforded to injured workers in the state.

The Act introduced several amendments to the existing workers’ compensation system, which was originally established to provide financial and medical benefits to employees injured during the course of their employment.

For those dealing with the most severe injuries, such as amputations (which are common in PA), navigating these changes can be particularly challenging. If you or your loved one has experienced a work-related limb loss, seeking the expertise of a Philadelphia, PA workplace amputation attorney can be absolutely critical in ensuring you receive the full extent of benefits.

What is Act 57 in Pennsylvania?

What is Act 57 in Pennsylvania

Act 57 was part of a broader legislative effort to reform various aspects of the state’s workers’ compensation system. The Act emerged from a context where there was a growing concern over the sustainability of the workers’ compensation system due to escalating costs and inefficiencies within the system. 

The bill underwent the typical legislative process, which involved debates, committee reviews, and amendments prior to its passage. While specific details on the vote count and the level of bipartisan support are not readily available, reforms like Act 57 typically require considerable negotiation and compromise between parties, suggesting a level of bipartisan involvement.

Aims of Act 57

The primary aim of Act 57 was to streamline the workers’ compensation process and reduce the financial strain on the system. Key provisions included:

Introduction of Impairment Rating Evaluations (IRE)

At the conclusion of an injured employee receiving 104 weeks of total temporary disability benefits, an IRE could be requested by the injured worker’s employer to assess the degree of physical and/or mental impairment due to the work injury they suffered on the job. If the impairment rating was less than 50%, the worker’s status could be changed from total disability to partial disability, potentially and significantly affecting the duration of benefits.

Modification of Benefits

The Act allowed for the modification of workers’ compensation benefits based on the IRE results, which aimed to more accurately reflect the worker’s medical condition and capacity to work after receiving proper medical treatment.

Encouragement of Workplace Safety

Act 57 also was laser-focused on promoting workplace safety through the establishment and certification of workplace safety committees, providing incentives for employers to reduce workplace injuries.

What are the Pros & Cons of PA Act 57?

As is the case with any major legislative change, Act 57 came with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Act 57

  • Cost Control: By introducing mechanisms such as IREs, the Act helped control the escalating costs of workers’ compensation insurance for employers.
  • Promotion of Return to Work: The reforms encouraged injured workers to return to work as soon as medically feasible, which helped reduce long-term dependency on benefits.
  • Enhanced Safety Measures: The emphasis on safety committees and preventive measures aimed to reduce the frequency and severity of workplace injuries.

Cons of Act 57

  • Potential Reduction in Benefits: The use of IREs could lead to a reduction in benefits for some injured workers in the state of Pennsylvania, potentially before these injured workers were fully ready to return to work or their injuries had fully stabilized to the point of being able to return to work without restrictions.
  • Complexity and Administrative Burden: The amendments introduced by Act 57 added more complex layers to the claims process, potentially and most likely making the system more difficult for workers to navigate the workers compensation system in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Controversy Over Impairment Ratings: The reliance on impairment ratings as a basis for adjusting benefits was already a controversial issue, as it could result in significant negative changes to a worker’s compensation based on the outcomes of these evaluations.


What are the Pros & Cons of PA Act 57

To summarize, while Act 57 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act introduced important reforms that were aimed at improving the workers’ comp system’s efficiency and sustainability, it also presented genuine challenges and complexities to an already existing cumbersome system. The legislation’s focus on cost control, return to work, and safety was seen as a very positive development.

However, the legitimate implications for individual workers concerning a reduction in benefits and the complexities of new procedures highlighted the ongoing balancing act between managing costs and providing quality and adequate support to injured employees in the state of Pennslyvania.

Which Philadelphia, PA workplace amputation attorney near me can best help me with my Work Comp case?

Liberty Bell is home to some of the most experienced and knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyers anywhere from the Northeast Philadelphia Airport to John Heinz NWR and beyond. Specializing in various aspects of work comp law and boasting unwavering dedication to our clients’ well-being, we’re the ultimate choice of partner to help you realize your rights. Get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation!