Workers Compensation Amended For Those Who Contract COVID-19

April 16, 2020 - Contractors CLDC LMCC LECET

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission issued an Emergency Rule declaring that any employee in an “essential industry” that contracts COVID-19 will be presumed to have contracted the virus at work. This includes construction workers. In short, the rule shifts the burden of proof from the employee to the employer, requiring the employer to present evidence that the employee did not contract the virus at work. As a result, Illinois has made it easier for a much broader segment of employees to successfully pursue COVID-19 related worker compensation claims.

In the Emergency Amendment, there will be a presumption in worker compensation (WC) cases that a COVID-19 infection came from the job site.

This new law is in effect until September 10, 2020. Under the prior application of the law, it was difficult for most ill workers to prove that they contracted COVID-19 on the job. Under the new evidentiary amendment, the law creates a Rebuttable Presumption that a worker’s COVID-19 is, in fact, related to their work.

Workers' compensation benefits under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, in conjunction with this recent amendment, requires that:

  • Workers must get tested and that the test result must be positive;
  • Workers must give notice to his/her employer as soon as possible. The law requires 45 days from the date a worker has reason to know he/she has a work-related;
  • Workers get a note from their doctor instructing them to quarantine at home and not go to work.  Disability pay is paid at 2/3 of average weekly earnings over the preceding 52 weeks.