Pennsylvania Death of Employee: What you need to know

State law permits an employer to pay wages, salary, or any employee benefits due a deceased employee to the employee's surviving family members if the employee was a Pennsylvania resident at the time of death. An employer may pay up to $5,000 to the spouse, any child, the father or mother, or any sister or brother of the deceased, in that order of preference (PA Stat. Tit. 20 Sec. 3101). The employer may do this regardless of whether a personal representative has been appointed. When such a payment is made, the employer is released from any further liability, just as if the payment had been made to a duly appointed personal representative of the decedent.
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Subject to certain restrictions, state law permits a surviving spouse or surviving child to convert a group accident and sickness policy to an individual policy within 30 days of the employee's death (PA 1921 Act 284, Sec. 756.2(d)(16)). This policy must be issued without evidence of insurability, which means that the surviving spouse or dependent will not have to have a physical examination in order to get the policy. The premium of the converted policy, however, must be paid at the rate of an individual policy (PA 1921 Act 284, Sec. 756.2(d)(2)and Sec. 756.2(d)(3)).
There is more information on grief management, helping employees following the death of a coworker, and coping with the loss of a family member.
Last updated on May 19, 2017.

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