The COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly changed the way businesses run, and some of these changes are more evident than others. One of the more complicated aspects of coronavirus in the workplace involves workers’ compensation claims.
Does contracting COVID-19 at work qualify as a workplace injury and make employees eligible for worker’s compensation?
Until recently, it was unclear if COVID-19 could be reported as a workplace injury and therefore be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Traditionally, community spread viruses like influenza and the common colds have not qualified for workers’ comp. However, the severity and high transmission rates of the 2019 novel coronavirus has caused many state lawmakers to make an exception.
Is an Employee Eligible for Workers’ Comp if they Get COVID At Work?
Though no federal action has been taken, as of this posting, 14 states now allow employees who contract COVID at work to file a legitimate claim. This includes the State of California, where SB-1159 Workers’ Compensation: COVID-19 was passed.
The SB-1159 bill confirmed that employees could receive benefits under worker’s compensation if they contract the virus on the job. The bill created a “presumption of injury”, which simply means that it was more likely than not – that this illness is industrial (and the employee does not have to prove it happened at work – the employer has to prove it didn’t).
How Does the Filing Work?
Filing and qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits from COVID-19 works just like any other workplace injury. An employee must provide proper documentation that they have tested positive for the virus. It’s critical to report a positive COVID test immediately! It will likely take time to verify and document all test results, perform contact tracing, and complete the reporting necessary for the claim to be processed.
If this sounds like a lot, honestly, it can be! Thankfully, there are workers’ compensation nurse triage professionals on the clock 24/7 that can help you and your team through the process. These experts understand the process inside and out. Trust them to support your business from the moment an employee begins to exhibit symptoms to when a claim is filed.
As nurses and health care experts, they can also provide professional (and bilingual!) triage and medical recommendations. The on-call nurse can also refer the sick team member to appropriate treatment or a testing facility if they believe further care is needed.
More than anything, a nurse triage and on-call workers’ compensation COVID-19 support team can provide business owners and their employees with real peace-of-mind—something we all could use more of right now. Just focus on keeping your company running strong, and we’ll be there 24/7 when you need us most.
Are you interested in learning more about CarivaCare and how we can support your team during the COVID-19 pandemic? Reach out to us at 1-800-274-1102 or contact us online here. We’ll discuss how our 24/7 workers’ compensation nurse triage and COVID-19 support programs can help you and save you money. Let’s chat soon!