Ex-Pennsylvania Labor Secretary Heads DOL Workers’ Comp Office

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By Ben Penn

Julia Hearthway, the former Pennsylvania secretary of labor and industry, is now the director of the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, according to a bio published on the DOL website Oct. 6.

Hearthway’s arrival provides new politically appointed leadership to the OWCP, which administers compensation benefits for workers with job-related injuries or occupational diseases. The OWCP doesn’t have authority over state-level workers’ compensation programs, instead overseeing compensation benefits for federal employees, longshore and harbor workers, Department of Energy nuclear weapons workers, and coal miners.

After her four-year term (2011-2015) as a state labor chief under a Republican administration, Hearthway has more recently served as a Pennsylvania appellate judge.

Hearthway’s appointment, which didn’t require Senate confirmation, comes as the DOL has been slow to install subagency directors. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was sworn into office in late April but is still waiting for the Senate to confirm White House nominees to fill key vacancies such as deputy labor secretary, solicitor, and Wage and Hour Division administrator.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at bpenn@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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