Should employees who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 be reported as workers' compensation claim? Does a workers' compensation policy cover employees working from home? Answers to these and other questions here. (Updated 4-3-2020)

Q. If employees claim COVID-19 infections arose out of work-related contacts, are such claims covered by workers' compensation benefits?

A: Workers' compensation coverage may be available in connection with provable workplace exposures that lead to infection and COVID-19 disease, but that will depend on state law. This may provide some protection for employers concerned about potential liability and damages. However, where there is widespread community spread of the virus, it may be difficult if not impossible to prove the exposure that led to infection occurred at work.

Q. Does a workers' compensation policy cover employees working from home?

A: In general, an employee injury or illness is compensable under workers' compensation if it arises out of and in the course of employment, regardless of the location the injury occurs. Employees typically have the burden of proving the injury is work-related. "Arising out of" refers to what the employee was doing at the time of the injury, and "in the course of" refers to when the injury happened. To successfully claim workers' compensation benefits, the employee must show he or she was acting in the interest of the employer at the time the injury occurred. Workers' compensation laws vary by state, and employers are encouraged to work with their workers' compensation carriers as well as their legal counsel to determine strategies to manage workers' compensation risks for their telecommuters.

Q. If an employee shows potential symptoms of the Coronavirus, should that be reported this as a workers' compensation claim?

A: If the employer feels the sickness could be considered work related, please report through normal workers' compensation claims reporting procedures. The carrier will investigate the claim and determine compensability. Workers compensation coverage may be available in connection with provable workplace exposures that lead to infection and COVID-19 disease but will depend on state law. This may provide some protection for employers concerned about potential liability and damages. However, where there is wide-spread community spread of the virus, it may be difficult if not impossible to prove that the exposure that lead to infection occurred at work.

Q. If an employee has tested positive for the Coronavirus, should that be reported as a workers' compensation claim?

A: If the employer feels the sickness could be considered work related, they should report through their normal workers' compensation claims reporting procedures. The carrier will investigate the claim and determine compensability. Workers compensation coverage may be available in connection with provable workplace exposures that lead to infection and COVID-19 disease but will depend on state law. This may provide some protection for employers concerned about potential liability and damages. However, where there is wide-spread community spread of the virus, it may be difficult if not impossible to prove that the exposure that lead to infection occurred at work.

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Launch this SPECIAL EDITION WEBCAST SERIES anytime: Protecting Your Workforce and Understanding Policies as Your Organization Responds to COVID-19

Helpful information can also be found here: ADP Employer Preparedness Toolkit — Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

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