The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation, has announced it will be closed on Friday, December 23, 2022, and Monday, December 26, 2022. This action compels inquiry in to the potential impact of Division closure on dates beyond those listed in Tex. Gov’t Code Sec. 622.003(a) on filing deadlines.
Currently, DWC Rule 102.3, Computation of Time, states at (a)(3): “Unless otherwise specified, if the last day of any period is not a working day, the period is extended to include the next day that is a working day.” The ‘working day’ language was introduced in a 1999 rule change, but a review of the Texas Register reflects no comment on this particular provision at that time. Rule 102.3(b) goes on to clarify: “A working day is any day, Monday-Friday, other than a national holiday as defined by Texas Government Code, § 662.003(a) and the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, December 24th and December 26th.”
A strict reading of this rule would suggest that even if the Division chooses to close on December 23, 2022, such closure does not affect or extend any deadlines under the Act. Appeals Panel Decision No. 050480 suggests the Division would apply this approach. In that case, the Division was closed on September 23 and 24, 2003, when the central office was moving from Southfield to Metro Center. Prior to this closure, the Division issued an advisory announcing the closure and stating that for purposes of communicating with the Division, those days would not be considered “normal business hours.” The Carrier utilized this Advisory to suggest its deadline for disputing a SIBs quarter was extended; the Appeals Panel disagreed. It stated that the advisory did nothing to change the definition of “working day.”
In summary, pursuant to Rule 102.3, and absent any specific Division communication to the contrary, December 23, 2022 will still be considered a working day, and any deadlines on that date will not be extended. In contrast, the specific language of DWC Rule 102.3(b) confirms that Monday, December 26, 2022 is NOT a working day, and any deadlines on that date will be extended to Tuesday, December 27, 2022.