Following the temporary restraining order granted by the Sangamon County Circuit Court, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission met this morning to discuss its response. The Commission unanimously voted to withdraw the recent emergency rule amending Section 9070.30, which allowed for a rebuttable presumption that any injury, occupational disease, or period of incapacity resulting from COVID-19 exposure arose out of and in the course of employment and is causally related to the employment for First Responders and Front-Line Workers. 

The withdrawal will be submitted to the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) later today. This will, in effect, return the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act to it previous state.

It is important to note that the applicable law already provides a rebuttable presumption for first responders. Subsection (f) of Section 6 of the Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/6) provides a rebuttable presumption to firefighters, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technician-intermediates, advanced emergency medical technicians, or paramedics for any blood borne pathogen, lung or respiratory disease or condition, heart or vascular disease or condition, hypertension, tuberculosis, or cancer resulting in any disability (temporary, permanent, total, or partial). It also provides a presumption for these workers for any hernia or hearing loss. A similar provision is provided in the Occupational Diseases Act (820 ILCS 310/1). These provisions will remain in effect.

While this decision by the Commission will return the law to status quo prior to its April 16, 2020 emergency rule, the Commission will be forming a committee to evaluate actions it may take under the Occupational Diseases Act and the Workers' Compensation Act to address employee exposure to Covid-19.

BCM’s Covid-19 Task Force will continue to keep you updated on any further actions taken by the Commission or legislature. 


Francis M. Brady
John P. Connolly
Jeffrey R. Gibellina
Surbhi Saraswat Goyal
Neel Mookerjee
Ivan Nieves
Amelia A. Schwingle
As Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on Thursday, April 23, 2020 that he will be extending the state’s stay-at-home order through May 30, 2020, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission also announced that Arbitrators will conduct May 2020 Arbitration Status Calls telephonically.  Of note and according to the released “May 2020 Special Circumstance Arbitration Procedures:”

  1. Arbitrators will set cases for hearing from the May 2020 Call Sheets, for hearing on trial dates in the month of June 2020.
  2. Only cases that are ready to be tried should be set.
  3. Cases will only be set by Agreement and the party that requests the date must notify their opponent of the scheduled trial date, in writing.
  4. No more than 10 above the line May cases will be set for each of the June trial dates at that Call. And no more than 25 total May cases will be set off of the May Call for each of the June trial dates.
  5. Parties must notify the Arbitrator of the status of the case to determine whether or not it may proceed.
  6. Any matter that does not receive a trial date will automatically be returned to the call, whether or not it is above the line.
  7. No Emergency 19(b)s and 19-(b-1)s will be set from this Call, but Emergency matters will still be heard by the Emergency Arbitrators during the month of May.
  8. No Motions will be heard.

As always, BCM will be in attendance at the May 2020 Arbitration Status Calls on behalf of our clients to protect their interest and provide timely case status updates.

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