Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that will provide workers’ compensation benefits to frontline and essential workers, including first responders, who become infected with COVID-19 on the job. The law acknowledges the fact that the coronavirus pandemic is threatening the safety of workers whose jobs are typically not considered dangerous.
In enacting HB 2455, Illinois joins many other states in creating a presumption of coverage for COVID-19 across various sectors of employment. The measure is not just limited to law enforcement employees and health care workers. It applies to essential workers across many different industries including grocery stores, transportation providers, pharmacies, educational institutions and others. Employees can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as their job requires them to come into contact with members of the public or to work at a site with over 15 workers.
Illinois businesses are allowed to contest workers’ compensation claims by showing evidence that an employee was exposed to the coronavirus outside the workplace rather than in the course of employment. The employer can also demonstrate that the workplace was complying with state and federal public health guidance.
The workers’ compensation coverage applies to COVID-19 cases that are diagnosed between March 9, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has presented essential workers with many challenges during this unprecedented time. If you have been denied the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve for COVID-19 or any other type of workplace injury, the Chicago lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg may be able to help. Contact us today to learn more.