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Pennsylvania Enacts ACT 17 Providing COVID-19 Benefits to Police, Firefighters, and Other Enforcement Officers

On April 29, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 17 (formerly known as House Bill 1869), which requires the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Delaware River Port Authority or such County, City, Township or Municipality to pay compensation for certain enforcement officers, including police officers, firefighters and other workers covered under the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law (also known as the Heart and Lung Act), who contract or are diagnosed with COVID-19, or who are subject to quarantine resulting from exposure to COVID-19, and, therefore, are incapacitated from performing their job duties. The benefits are limited to a period of sixty (60) days per incident. These individuals are not required to prove that they contracted COVID-19 in the performance of their duties in order to receive these benefits.

A copy of the Act is available here. These provisions of Act 17 became immediately effective on April 29, 2020.  

Pending further guidance from the Legislature or the Governor’s office, at this time, we recommend that benefits under Act 17 be extended, in writing, to eligible individuals reflecting that the individual will continue to receive his or her full salary pursuant to Act 17 for a period of no more than sixty (60) days. In addition, the individuals should be advised, in writing, that the payment of Act 17 benefits does not constitute an acceptance of a workers’ compensation claim or a Heart and Lung claim. Because Act 17 does not specifically provide for the payment of medical benefits, medical bills should be submitted to an individual’s personal health insurance. 

Post & Schell is continuing to explore issues raised by the enactment of Act 17 and will provide further guidance as these issues develop. 

If you have questions about a specific claim, please contact any of the following of Post & Schell’s Workers’ Compensation attorneys:

  • Workers’ Compensation Department Chair, Patrick T. Cusick, Esquire, Workers’ Compensation Department Vice Chair, in our Lancaster Office at (717) 391-4418 or;
  • Patrick R. Byrne, Esquire in our Allentown Office at (610) 774-0326 or;
  • Patrice A. Toland, Esquire in our Philadelphia Office at (215) 587-1093 or; or       
  • Stephen S. Bloomburg, Esquire in our Pittsburgh Office at (412) 577-2985 or

About the Authors

Stephen S. Bloomburg is Principal and Co-Vice Chair of the firm's Workers' Compensation Department, as well as Administrative Principal of the firm's Pittsburgh, PA office. In his practice, he represents a wide array of clients, from national corporations to small, locally-owned businesses. While attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Mr. Bloomburg served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Alan S. Bloch, Senior United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Post & Schell, P.C., Mr. Bloomburg worked for a Pittsburgh-based plaintiff's firm, where he represented the interests of individuals and corporations throughout the State and Federal courts of Pennsylvania.

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Patrick R. Byrne is a Principal in the Firm's Workers' Compensation Department. He limits his practice to the defense of a broad array of employers, their workers' compensation insurance carriers, and third-party administrators. His clients include interstate motor carriers, retail and food industry distribution centers, hospital health networks, skilled nursing facilities, overnight package delivery services, and temporary staffing companies.

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