Health care workers and other essential employees are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, they are concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus and falling ill while on the job. Illinois has addressed these risks by making it easier for certain essential workers who contract COVID-19 to be automatically covered under the state workers’ compensation system.
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission recently passed an emergency rule that will enable the state’s health care workers, first responders and frontline workers who develop COVID-19 in connection with their employment to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Under the April 13, 2020, policy change there is an automatic presumption that essential employees diagnosed with COVID-19 contracted the illness from the workplace and are making an honest claim for benefits. In a departure from normal workers’ compensation procedures, employees will not be required to provide proof that their injury or illness was directly caused by their job duties.
The new policy for COVID-19 claims in Illinois is expected to last up to 150 days. It applies to all health care workers and other essential employees including police officers, fire personnel, grocery store staff, postal workers, corrections officers and others across different industries. Workers’ compensation coverage may include medical bills, disability benefits, two-thirds salary and more.
The change in the state workers’ compensation policy provides essential employees with some relief regarding their right to receive benefits as they put their lives on the line in the fight against COVID-19. If you believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus during the course of your employment, contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg.