On July 24, Governor Lamont issued an executive order like none other. It impacts the substantive rights of employers and employees who develop COVID-19. Prior to this order, those who believed they had contracted the virus while working would have had to provide medical evidence in the form of a doctor’s report stating that the worker’s COVID-19 infection, within a reasonable degree of medical probability, was contracted while at work. As you can imagine, this would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, in many cases, because of community spread of the virus.
In our practice, we have received many calls from essential workers who contracted COVID-19 in the spring. Nursing homes had health care workers in particular who were on the front lines, providing care to our most vulnerable. Many times, their employers failed to provide adequate protective equipment for their staffs, making infections likely.
Governor Lamont’s new Executive Order 7JJJ states that certain employees who were infected during the height of the pandemic in Connecticut will be entitled to a presumption that their illness arose from their employment, such that the employee would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Employees will be presumptively covered for workers’ compensation benefits if:
- They got sick after March 10
- They missed time from work between March 10 and May 20
- They were not offered a work-from-home option
- There was a positive test within 3 weeks of the date of the first symptoms
If the exposure occurred more than two weeks after March 23, the employee needs to have been deemed essential by Executive Order 7H.
An employer can defeat your claim if it can show that it was more likely than not that your illness was NOT caused by exposure at the place of employment.
If you fall into these categories, it is imperative that you create a workers’ compensation claim, because the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still not understood, and you may have needs in the future that should be covered by compensation benefits.
Please call Bill at 860-351-3552 if you have any questions regarding this important new executive order.