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Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Monday that would expand the definition of employee in the state’s Workers Compensation Act to include additional titles of volunteer first responders who would be entitled to compensation if they are injured during a rescue.
S.B. 94, which unanimously passed the state’s Senate on Monday, adds officers and directors of rescue and lifesaving squads as volunteer emergency personnel entitled to workers compensation if they receive injuries in the performance of their volunteer first responder duties.
The bill also makes volunteer first responders performing duties on State Park or State Forest Land employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for workers compensation purposes.
The legislation excludes “social members” of volunteer fire departments or ambulance corps from being classified as employees if their membership is primarily intended to facilitate fraternization with other members.
If signed into law, the legislation would take effect immediately.
Lawmakers in two states this week are aiming to improve workers compensation benefits for first responders, in line with a nationwide trend focusing on injuries suffered by those who work as police officers and firefighters.