Over the past year, changes to worker’s compensation laws in several states allow coverage for first responders and others who contract COVID-19 on duty. Worker’s compensation does not usually cover community acquired diseases as it’s difficult to prove that someone contracted it at work as opposed to in the general public (off-duty). Seventeen states have taken some form of action allowing first responders to submit claims for worker’s compensation insurance benefits for contracting COVID 19. Worker’s compensation support for first responders and other essential workers during the pandemic is essential with average costs of hospitalization for COVID-19 surpassing annual salaries for our nations heroes.
Changes to worker’s compensation policy is “presumptive” if it deals with the “burden of proof”. Beethan Moorcraft summarized how presumption laws impact normal workers compensation policy in his article, “COVID-19 workers’ comp presumption laws based on ‘misinformation’”.
Here are some resources to help you learn about these changes for your team, plan to make these changes to your state’s law, and avoid resistance from the insurance industry.
State Actions on COVID Workers Compensation: Source, NCSL, 2020
|State||Status||Type of Worker With Presumption of Occupational Disease||Bill or Order Number|
|Alaska||Enacted (program expired)||First repondersHealth care workers||SB 241|
|Arkansas||Executive Order||All workers whose jobs make exposure to COVID-19 possible or likely. The order does not give a presumption of coverage, but defines COVID-19 as an occupational disease making it coverable by workers compensation under the regular process of filing a claim.||EO 20-35|
|Arkansas||Executive Order||Any worker who can establish that they contracted COVID-19 as a result of their job||EO 20-35|
|California||Executive Order||All workers who test positive for COVID-19 and who are not exclusively working from home||EO N-62-20|
|California||Enacted||All workers exposed to COVID-19 resulting from a hazardous workplace||AB 685|
|California||Failed||First respondersHealth care workers||AB 664|
|California||Failed||All essential workers||AB 196|
|California||Enacted||Workers employed to combat the spread of COVID-19||SB 1159|
|California||Failed||Hospital workers||SB 893|
|Colorado||Failed||All essential workers||SB 216|
|Connecticut||Executive Order||All essential workers who contracted COVID-19 between March 10, 2020 and May 20, 2020||EO 7JJJ|
|Florida||Admin. Policy Change||First respondersChild safety investigatorsCorrections officersNational Guard service members responding to COVID-19State-employed health care workers||CFO Directive 2020-05|
|Florida||Informational Memorandum||Reinforces the administrative policy change and informs insurance carriers that existing Florida law defines and covers occupational diseases.||OIR-20-05M|
|Illinois||Enacted||All essential workers||HB 2455|
|Kansas||Failed||All workers who work in close proximity with the public or coworkers||HB 2007 (special session)|
|Kansas||Failed||All workers who work in close proximity with the public or coworkers||HB 2018 (special session)|
|Kansas||Failed||All workers who work in close proximity with the public or coworkers||SB 1 (special session)|
|Kentucky||Executive Order||First respondersHealth care workersMilitary and National GuardDomestic violence shelter workersChild advocacy workersRape crisis center staffGrocery store workersPostal workersChild care workers||EO 2020-277|
|Louisiana||Failed||All essential workers||SB 475|
|Massachusetts||Pending||ParamedicsEmergency and urgent care health care workers||HD 4949|
|Massachusetts||Pending||Emergency room and urgent care health workers||HB 4749|
|Massachusetts||Pending||All public employees working outside of their home||SB 2732|
|MIchigan||Pending||All essential workers||HB 5758|
|Michigan||Pending||First respondersHealth care workersCorrections officers||SB 906|
|Michigan||Pending||All essential workers||SB 928|
|MIchigan||Executive Order||First respondersHealth care workers||EO 2020-125|
|Michigan||Pending||Workers who contract COVID-19 would be ineligible for workers’ compensation if their employer was in compliance with public health requirements and guidelines||SB 1019|
|Michigan||Pending||All workers who are required by their employer to work outside their home||HB 6040|
|Minnesota||Enacted||First respondersHealth care workers||HF 4537|
|Minnesota||Failed||School and higher education workers||HF 9 e|
|Minnesota||Failed||School and higher education workers||SF 16 f|
|New Hampshire||Executive Order||First responders||Emergency Order #36|
|New Jersey||Pending||All essential workers||AB 3998|
|New Jersey||Enacted||All essential workers||AB 3999|
|New Jersey||Pending||Would prohibit payment of workers compensation benefits for COVID-19 unless the employer committed gross negligence||AB 4496|
|New Jersey||Pending||Workers in warehouses and distribution centers||AB 4784|
|New Mexico||Executive Order||Certain state workers and volunteers||EO 2020-025|
|New York||Pending||First responders||SB 8117A|
|New York||Pending||All workers who have contact with others||SB 8266|
|New York||Pending||All workers at risk of exposure as part of their job||AB 10401|
|North Carolina||Failed||First respondersCorrections officers||HB 1056|
|Northa Carolina||Failed||All essential workers||HB 1057|
|North Dakota||Executive Order||First respondersHealth care workersProviders of treatment, care, programs or services to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilitiesEmployees of the Life Skills and Transition Center*Benefits limited to temporary wage replacement while in quarantine and health care treatments||EO 2020-12.2|
|Ohio||Pending||First responders||HB 571|
|Ohio||Pending||All essential workers||HB 573|
|Ohio||Pending||Grocery store workersFood processing workers||HB 605|
|Ohio||Pending||Health care workers||HB 633|
|Ohio||Pending||Corrections officers||HB 667|
|Ohio||Pending||First responders||HB 668|
|Pennsylvania||Failed||Workers employed by a life-sustaining business or occupation||HB 2396|
|Puerto Rico||Enacted||All workers infected while performing authorized services||SB 1540|
|Rhode Island||Pending||All essential workers||HB 8066|
|South Carolina||Failed||First respondersHealth care workersCorrections officers||HB 5482|
|Tennessee||Failed||Essential workersAny infected worker if 9 or more other workers at the same location have also become infected||SB 8007b|
|Utah||Enacted||First respondersHealth care workers||SB 3007|
|Vermont||Enacted||First respondersHealth care workersCorrections officersLong-term care staffChild care providersEmployees of pharmacies or grocery storesOther workers with high risk of exposure||SB 342|
|Virgina||Failed||First respondersHealth care workersSchool employees||HB 5028a|
|Virgina||Failed||First responders||SB 5022a|
|Virginia||Failed||First respondersHealth care workers||SB 5097a|
|Virginia||Failed||First respondersHealth care workers||SB 5104a|
|Virginia||Failed||First respondersHealth care workersCorrections officers||SB 5066a|
|Virgina||Failed||First respondersHealth care workersSchool employees||HB 5028 a|
|Washington||Admin. Policy Change||First respondersHealth care workers||Press Release|
|Wisconsin||Enacted||First responders||AB 1038|
|Wyoming||Enacted||All workers otherwise covered under workers’ compensation||SB 1002 (special session)|
Here is a 2020 article from the bipartisan NCSL that links each state’s laws and actions. The table of actions by state above is from this article.
This article for the insurance industry outlines an argument that the push for worker’s compensation presumption laws resulted from misinformation and are inappropriate. The author also discusses that presumptive laws alter the nature of workers comp in general. It’s an interesting read. We provided the quote above from this article.
Finally, here is a link to the insurance industry’s suggestions for rebuttals of the COVID 19 presumptions. Some rebuttals don’t apply to first responders working in the field who couldn’t work from home. However, every EMS, Fire, and Police Department has staff that does not work in the field directly but are at increased risk by virtue of having to come to a station, even periodically.
We will continue to follow this topic and update Chiefsays.com and the @EMSguru handles on social media. Stay safe!
Take our Public Safety Learning Styles Quiz and Find Out Which Learning Style Suits You Best!
Whether you are a student or a professional, we have to learn more and more to be an effective EMT, paramedic, police officer, nurse, firefighter, or military service member. If you don’t know which learning style fits you best, you can unlock effective and efficient studying.
At the end of the quiz you’ll find out which style dominates and tips to maximize your learning.
The learning styles quiz is based on the Audio, Kinesthetic, Read/ Write and Visual learning styles. The program is an evidenced based system used by thousands of organizations. This quiz is tailored to help EMT’s, firefighters, law enforcement and police officers, nurses, paramedics, and military personnel/ veterans find their learning style.
Most people have overlapping learning styles with one or two dominant styles present. We are developing a tool to help public safety and medical students identify all dominate learning styles.
What to do with the results
After identifying tour dominate learning style with the quiz, review the tips. Use them and not which ones work and which do not. Also, share the results with your instructor and ask for tips on how to use this information in their class.
Check back with Chiefsays.com for more resources and join the newsletter for updates. Share this quiz with your classmates and colleagues and let us know in the comments what tips you have for others with the learning style.