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Are Injured Church Volunteers Eligible for Workers Compensation Benefits?

A Pennsylvania court addresses this question.

Brookhaven Baptist Church v. Workers Compensation Appeal Board, 2006 WL 3798180 (Pa. 2006)

Background. Most churches utilize volunteers to perform a variety of routine maintenance tasks, including cleaning, snow and ice removal, painting, roof repair, and grass cutting. If a church member is injured while performing such tasks, is the injury compensable under the state's workers compensation law? If so, what are the consequences to the church? These are important issues that were addressed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a recent case.

Facts. An elderly man (Burt) and his wife began attending a small church. Because contributions were meager, church members performed most church maintenance. The church constitution designated the board of trustees as the persons responsible for "maintenance and protection of church building, grounds, furnishings and equipment." These duties were carried ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • March 1, 2007

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