Appeals from the Orders of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Julia Lord v. Sealy Spring Corporation, Nos. A-72490 and A-72562.
Richard A. Bausher, with him Stevens & Lee, for Julia Lord.
Frank L. Tamulonis, Jr., for Sealy Spring Corporation and Home Insurance Company.
Sandra S. Christianson, Assistant Attorney General, for Department of Labor and Industry.
Judges Mencer, DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 628]
This case concerns two related appeals arising from a single order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) dated June 17, 1977. The order affirms and modifies a referee's determination terminating compensation payments to Julia Lord (Claimant) by reason of her ability to return to work and penalizing Sealy Springs Corporation (Employer) and its insurance carrier, Home Insurance Company (Home), for failing to make benefit payments in compliance with The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 1 et seq.
Claimant injured her wrist January 18, 1974, while working for Employer. Though her last pay period ended January 25, 1974, Claimant began to receive
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 629]
compensation benefits on February 2, 1974; and payments continued uninterrupted until August 17, 1974, when they ceased. Thereafter, a lump sum payment was made on March 15, 1975, which fully compensated Claimant for the period between August 17, 1974 and March 15, 1975.
The payments then continued on a weekly basis until April 4, 1976, when they once again were stopped. On April 15, 1976, Employer and Home filed a termination petition asserting that Claimant was fully able to return to work with no loss of earning power. Feeling able to attempt to return to work, Claimant began work June 21, 1976, and continued until June 29, 1976. At this time, Claimant left her job stating that her wrist was causing her pain.
On September 14, 1976, Claimant filed a petition seeking 20% penalties from Employer and Home for the untimely termination of payments and the failure to pay benefits for the waiting period between the end of her last regular pay period, January 25, 1974, and the beginning of benefit payments, February 2, 1974. The Commonwealth, through the Secretary of Labor and Industry, thereupon issued an Order to Show Cause why Home should not be found in violation of Section 413(b) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 774.1, and penalized in accordance with Section 435 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 991.
A combined hearing was held on both petitions on November 4, 1976. In his decision of November 11, 1976, the referee imposed 10% penalties on Employer and Home for the August 17, 1974 and April 4, 1976 interruptions in payments but refused to impose penalties for failure to pay benefits during the waiting period. The referee also found that since Claimant was able to return to work as of June 17, 1976, the ...