The COVID-19 pandemic has forced more employees in their homes due to quarantine than businesses can handle. While granting worker’s compensation in these unprecedented times is tricky, professionals that deserve to be compensated are frontline and healthcare workers who are on the front lines trying to keep the pandemic at bay. COVID has caused record-high unemployment in Illinois, as well as most areas of the U.S.
Similar to other occupational illnesses, an employee has the right to seek workers’ comp benefits for medical treatment and lost wages related to the COVID-19 virus. If you wondering if you can receive workers’ compensation for COVID-19, the short answer is ‘yes,’ but only when certain criteria are met. Here’s what you need to know.
According to circumstances, the coronavirus pandemic can be considered as an occupational disease or illness because it is highly contagious and spreads quickly. Worker’s compensation covers occupational disease if it arises out of the course of employment. Since the disease spreads like wildfire, an infected super spreader can infect several others in his/her vicinity on the first contact.
A number of factors have to be met for this criterion to be effective. This includes the following:
In other words, if there is a direct connection between your work duties and COVID-19 exposure, you are eligible for worker’s compensation. However, this only applies to health care professionals or first responders who naturally have higher chances of contracting the disease in the course of their work.
If you are concerned court is not taking place due to COVID, it still is – just not in-person. The vast majority of court cases are proceeding forward via Zoom or other platforms. COVID-19 should not be a reason to delay filing your workers’ compensation case.
This is not just hearsay. June 5, 2020, Illinois Governor, JB Pritzker signed HB 2455 into law, allowing worker’s compensation coverage for this sector of the workforce. By putting this law into practice, Illinois effectively became the latest state to allow a presumption of the coverage that specifically covers COVID-19. Besides the state, Kentucky, Alaska, Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan, California, and other states had signed similar laws into practice.
If you are a frontline or healthcare worker and your employer refuses to provide or withhold workers’ compensation from you, you need a workers’ compensation lawyer in your corner because you have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Get in touch with an employment law attorney who specializes in such cases at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens today. You can reach us at our offices in Chicago, Libertyville, Waukegan, Woodstock, and Antioch, IL. See more on our Illinois Workers’ Compensation FAQs page.