Calculating the 120-Day Work Injury Notice

Chartwell Law

Question: When does 121 = 120?

Answer: When the 120th day to give notice of a work injury under Section 311 of the PA WC Act falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal or state holiday.

In Holy Redeemer Hosp. Systems v. WCAB (Figueroa), Pa. Comm w. No. 372 C.D. 2020, filed December 31, 2020, claimant worked as an ER nurse at a hospital open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. She gave notice of her work injury on the 121st day after her work injury, which was a Monday.  

The Commonwealth Court was called on to decide whether the claimant's claim was barred by the 120-day notice provision of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act. The employer argued that the claimant could easily have provided notice on day 120, a Sunday, or earlier. The employer also argued that the PA WC Act at Section 311 is unambiguous as to the 120-day notice requirement.  

The court looked beyond the PA WC Act and to Section1908 of the Statutory Construction Act of 1972, which states as follows:

When any period of time is referred to in any statute, such period in all cases, except as otherwise provided in section 1909 of this title  (relating to publication for successive weeks) and section 1910 of this title (relating to computation of months) shall be so computed as to exclude the first and include the last day of such period. Whenever the last day of any such period shall fall on Saturday or Sunday, or any day made a legal holiday by the laws of this Commonwealth or the United States, such day shall be omitted from the computation.  

Because the last day of the 120-day period of time, established by Section 311, fell on Sunday, the court omitted that day from the 120 computation. Accordingly, the court held that the claimant gave timely notice.

You may read the entire ruling here.

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