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.
BCM COVID-19 TASK FORCE