It was recently reported in these pages that the Illinois House and Senate were just about to pass a Bill agreeing on a causation standard for workplace COVID-19 cases.
That prediction came true this past Friday, May 22, 2020, when both chambers concurred on legislation providing that when certain workers contract COVID-19 the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission should presume the exposure came at work.
Those workers, generally law enforcement and safety, health care, and employees engaged in supplying goods and services to the public needed to maintain existence, must also disclose a diagnosis by a licensed medical practitioner or a lab test positive for COVID-19, before June 15, 2020 or just the lab test after June 15, 2020. And they have to prove they were diagnosed on or after March 9, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2020.
An employer can defeat the presumption by showing the worker was doing his job from home for at least 14 consecutive days before he was incapacitated, or demonstrating that for the same time period it had in place safety protocols including equipment like masks, gloves, shields, glasses, and respirators.
The COVID-19 petitioner must also provide a certification of disability beyond just the diagnosis or lab test if TTD is being sought. Also as to TTD, the employer can take a credit for Federal benefits paid under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act, Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, or the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Finally, bear in mind that the COVID-19 petitioner can pursue a case without the presumption
. And no COVID-19 Case shall affect an employer’s experience rating or modification.
It is hard in a general summary to address every fact situation that might arise, so your questions are welcome.
BCM COVID-19 TASK FORCE