COVID-19 AND WORKER’S COMPENSATION CLAIMS

COVID-19 and Worker’s Compensation Claims
Updated: 7/10/20

The impact of COVID-19 has prompted some states to amend their worker’s compensation benefits laws, rules, or guidance so that COVID-19 infections in certain workers are presumed to be work-related.

These actions vary by state and affect members working in the applicable states. Please scroll down to view state-by-state requirements.

If your group has any potential COVID-19 worker’s compensation cases, please contact your Trustmark Health Benefits client manager.

States With Applicable Laws, Rules, or Guidance

The following states have issued specific guidance:

Alaska
SB 241 (Section 15)
3/11/20

An employee who contracts COVID-19 is conclusively presumed to have contracted an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment if, during the public health disaster, the employee:

  1. is employed as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, peace officer, or health care provider;
  2. is exposed to COVID-19 in the course of employment as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic, peace officer, or health care provider; and
  3. receives a:
    • COVID-19 diagnosis by a physician;
    • presumptive positive COVID-19 test result; or
    • laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

California
Executive Order N-62-20
5/5/20

Any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits if all of the following requirements are satisfied:

  • The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction;
  • The day referenced above on which the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction was on or after March 19, 2020;
  • The employee’s place of employment referenced above was not the employee’s home or residence; and
  • Such diagnosis of COVID-19 was made by a physician who holds a physician and surgeon license issued by the California Medical Board and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.

Florida
Department of Financial Services, Chief Financial Officer Directive 2020-05
3/30/20

Section 1. The Division of Risk Management will process Workers’ Compensation claims submitted by Frontline State Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, through a reliable method, as compensable claims for occupational disease, unless the State of Florida can show, by preponderance of the evidence, that a Frontline State Employee contracted COVID-19 outside his or her scope of employment as a state employee.

Section 2. For purposes of this Directive, the term “Frontline State Employee” shall include:

  • First Responders, including: law enforcement officers; firefighters; and emergency medical technicians or paramedics.
  • Corrections officers, and other employees, whose official duties require physical presence in a state-operated detention facility.
  • State Employees working in the healthcare field, whose duties require contact with persons as they are being tested for COVID-19 or otherwise known to be infected with COVID-19.
  • Child Safety Investigators, whose duties require them to conduct welfare checks on behalf of minors.
  • Members of the Florida National Guard, who are called to active duty for service in the State of Florida in response to COVID-19.

Section 3. The Division of Risk Management is directed to process claims as set forth in Section 1. and Section 2. of this Order, without regard to whether any other non-compensable factor may have contributed to the Employee contracting COVID-19, and compensation shall not be reduced because of any other potential causative factors.

Illinois
HB 2455
6/5/20

HB 2455 creates a rebuttable presumption for workers compensation benefits for certain employees. The classes of eligible employees include:

  • All individuals employed as police, fire personnel, EMTs, or paramedics; all workers for health care providers, including nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities and home care workers;
  • corrections officers;
  • any individuals employed by essential businesses and operations as defined in Executive Order 2020-10 dated March 20, 2020, as long as individuals employed by essential businesses and operations are required by their employment to encounter members of the general public or to work in employment locations of more than 15 employees.

The rebuttable presumption shall be effective for COVID-19 cases where the diagnosis of COVID-19 was made on or after March 9, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2020. Executive Order 2020-10, Essential Businesses and Operations. For the purposes of this Executive Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, and the following:

  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries, medicine, including medication not requiring a medical prescription, and also that sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and Essential Businesses and Operations;
  • Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture. Food and beverage manufacturing, production, processing, and cultivation, including farming, livestock, fishing, baking, and other production agriculture, including cultivation, marketing, production, and distribution of animals and goods for consumption; licensed medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries and licensed cannabis cultivation centers; and businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including animal shelters, rescues, shelters, kennels, and adoption facilities;
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services. Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities;
  • Media. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities and bicycle shops and related facilities;
  • Financial institutions. Banks, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited, to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products;
  • Hardware and supply stores. Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating material;
  • Critical trades. Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations;
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels;
  • Educational institutions. Educational institutions—including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible.
  • Laundry services. Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers;
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for consumption off-premises, through such means as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, curbside pick-up, and carry-out. Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Executive Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only.
  • Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home;
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security;
  • Transportation. Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Executive Order;
  • Home-based care and services. Home-based care for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness, including caregivers such as nannies who may travel to the child’s home to provide care, and other in-home services including meal delivery;
  • Residential facilities and shelters. Residential facilities and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness;
  • Professional services. Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, real estate services (including appraisal and title services);
  • Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.
  • Critical labor union functions. Labor Union essential activities including the administration of health and welfare funds and personnel checking on the well-being and safety of members providing services in Essential Businesses and Operations – provided that these checks should be done by telephone or remotely where possible.
  • Hotels and motels. Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services.
  • Funeral services. Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services.

Minnesota
HF 4537
4/8/20

An employee who contracts COVID-19 is presumed to have an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment if the employee satisfies the requirements of clauses (1) and (2).

  1. The employee was employed as a licensed peace officer under section 626.84, subdivision 1; firefighter; paramedic; nurse or health care worker, correctional officer, or security counselor employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment facility; emergency medical technician; a health care provider, nurse, or assistive employee employed in a health care, home care, or long-term care setting, with direct COVID-19 patient care or ancillary work in COVID-19 patient units; and workers required to provide child care to first responders and health care workers under Executive Order 20-02 and Executive Order 20-19.
  2. The employee’s contraction of COVID-19 must be confirmed by a positive laboratory test or, if a laboratory test was not available for the employee, as diagnosed and documented by the employee’s licensed physician, licensed physician’s assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), based on the employee’s symptoms. A copy of the positive laboratory test or the written documentation of the physician’s, physician assistant’s, or APRN’s diagnosis shall be provided to the employer or insurer.
  3. Once the employee has satisfied the requirements of clauses (1) and (2), the presumption shall only be rebutted if the employer or insurer shows the employment was not a direct cause of the disease. A denial of liability under this paragraph must meet the requirements for a denial under section 176.221, subdivision 1.
  4. The date of injury for an employee who has contracted COVID-19 under this paragraph shall be the date that the employee was unable to work due to a diagnosis of COVID-19, or due to symptoms that were later diagnosed as COVID-19, whichever occurred first.

Missouri
8 CSR 50-5.005 Presumption of Occupational Disease for First Responders
4/22/20

This emergency rule implements changes to the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law effected by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-02 and Executive Order 20-04 and pursuant to the Governor’s emergency powers under Chapter 44, RSMo.

This emergency rule creates a presumption that First Responders infected by or quarantined due to COVID-19 are deemed to have contracted a contagious or communicable occupational disease arising out of and in the course of the performance of their employment.

(1) A First Responder, defined as a law enforcement officer, firefighter or an emergency medical technician (EMT), as such occupations are defined in Section 287.243, who has contracted or is quarantined for COVID-19, is presumed to have an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of their employment. Such presumption shall include situations where the First Responder is quarantined at the direction of the employer due to suspected COVID-19 exposure, or the display of any COVID-19 symptoms, or receives a presumptive positive COVID-19 test, or receives a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician, or receives a laboratory–confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

Utah
HB 3007
5/4/20

A first responder who claims to have contracted COVID-19 during the performance of the first responder’s duties as a first responder, is presumed to have contracted COVID-19 by accident during the course of performing the first responder’s duties as a first responder if the first responder is diagnosed with COVID-19:

(a) while employed or serving as a first responder; or

(b) if the first responder’s employment or service as a first responder terminates, within two weeks after the day on which the first responder’s employment or service terminates.

(1) This part applies to a claim resulting from an accident arising out of and in the course of a first responder’s employment or service on or after March 21, 2020, and before June 1, 2021. (2) For purposes of establishing a workers’ compensation claim under this part, the "date of accident" is presumed to be the earlier of the day on which:

(a) the first responder is diagnosed with COVID-19;

(b) the first responder is unable to work because of a symptom of a disease that is later diagnosed as COVID-19; or

(c) the first responder’s employment or service as a first responder terminates, if the first responder is diagnosed with COVID-19 within two weeks after the day on which the first responder’s employment or service as a first responder terminates.

Washington
Governor Announcement
3/5/20

The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is immediately changing its policy around workers’ compensation coverage for health care workers and first responders who are quarantined by a physician or public health officer.

Under the clarified policy, L&I will provide benefits to these workers during the time they’re quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19 on the job.

Wisconsin
AB 1038
4/15/20

102.03 (6) (a) In this subsection, “first responder” means an employee of or volunteer for an employer that provides firefighting, law enforcement, medical, or other emergency services, and who has regular, direct contact with, or is regularly in close proximity to, patients or other members of the public requiring emergency services, within the scope of the individual’s work for the employer.

(b) For the purposes of benefits under this chapter, where an injury to a first responder is found to be caused by COVID-19 during the public health emergency declared by the governor under s. 323.10 on March 12, 2020, by executive order 72, and ending 30 days after the termination of the order, the injury is presumed to be caused by the individual’s employment.

(c) An injury claimed under par. (b) must be accompanied by a specific diagnosis by a physician or by a positive COVID-19 test.

(d) An injury claimed under par. (b) may be rebutted by specific evidence that the injury was caused by exposure to COVID-19 outside of the first responder’s work for the employer.

Wyoming
Senate File 1002
5/20/20

For the period beginning January 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, if any employee in an employment sector for which coverage is provided by this act is infected with the COVID 19 Coronavirus, it shall be presumed that the risk of contracting the illness or disease was increased by the nature of the employment.