There are employees who were not laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequential economic fallout. These people continue to work. Though some of them became ‘remote’ workers, others – like most workers in the healthcare industry still go to work. Generally, these are categorized as essential employees, and they confront the risk of getting infected with coronavirus at work.
Recently, the emergency legislation on local, state, and federal levels increased the unemployment insurance benefits, and both paid and unpaid sick leave time off for the loss of work or absenteeism caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But what would happen to the workers providing essential services who contract the coronavirus while on official duty? To know more, consider searching for a workers’ compensation law firm near me and you will get a long list of law firms that can help you understand the recent changes in the workers’ compensation
Sometimes, it’s inevitable
There’s always a risk of getting injured or sick at work. This is the primary reason why the Workers’ Compensation insurance system exists. The concept is simple. Your employer pays the insurer specific premiums for a Workers’ Compensation policy. The insurance policy offers coverage and certain benefits to employees for any injuries or specified illnesses that occur in the course of their job.
The Workers’ Compensation insurance provides a reliable mechanism to administer insurance benefits to workers. Also, the system helps circumvent costly and slow court proceedings in resolving compensation issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things
How will the workers’ compensation system work during the coronavirus pandemic? There are many emergency adjustments that have changed how we live, and some aspects of the workers’ compensation system.
Legislators and state governors are now grappling with how to perfectly balance the interests and the survival of companies (to ensure premiums don’t increase), workers (to ensure they get the benefits whenever necessary), and the public (making sure that workers can continue to deliver the essential services).
It’s worth noting that throwing stimulus cash into the economy doesn’t solve the emerging issues in the workers’ compensation system. This form of insurance isn’t a government benefit like other policies like unemployment insurance.
Some changes in laws regarding workers’ compensation benefits have been implemented while others are still pending. Most states have extended coverage of healthcare workers, and first responders and the Congress might be considering federal legislation that extends the coverage to TSA employees. These initiatives leave other workers offering essential services at the risk of contracting coronavirus at work.
Some states like California have flipped the burden of proof. That means all the workers offering essential services can enjoy workers’ compensation benefits if they contract coronavirus while on the official duty. Besides, the burden of proof has shifted.
If an employee files a workers’ compensation claim for loss of job or illness associated with the coronavirus infection, it is the responsibility of the state to prove that the employee didn’t get coronavirus while on official duty. Previously, it was the employee to prove that they suffered injuries and other losses while on official duty.