Minnesota Legislature Passes COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Bill for First Responders
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has taken the world hostage. While our state has taken several measures to limit the spread of this virus, we haven’t been able to shut it down completely.
Many people are indeed sheltering in place due to Governor Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order. But not everyone can stay home. Numerous groups of essential employees must go to work and put their own health on the line to help others. What relief or recourse is there for these employees who have no choice but to go to work and, in doing so, contract COVID-19?
Until this past week, these employees would have to gather evidence to prove they got sick from COVID-19 while at work. Thanks to the work of the legislature, employee unions and other key individuals, that all changed.
If You’re Part of These Named Groups & You Get COVID-19, You Get Work Comp Benefits
On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the state legislature passed HF 4537,
“A bill for an act relating to workers’ compensation; providing a presumption for COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims for certain employees”
This bill specifically names certain employees who, if they contract COVID-19, will be given the presumption that they got the novel coronavirus while at work. These employees will not have to prove they got it at work to gain access to workers’ compensation benefits.
The following groups are those who gain the benefit of this presumption:
- Licensed peace officer under section 626.84, subdivision 1
- Nurse or health care worker, correctional officer, or security counselor employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment facility
- Emergency medical technician
- Health care provider, nurse, or assistive employee employed in a health care, home care, or long-term care setting, with direct COVID-19 patient care or ancillary work in COVID-19 patient units
- Workers required to provide childcare to first responders and health care workers under Executive Order 20-02 and Executive Order 20-19
Did you get COVID-19 while at work? Are you included in one of these named groups? Learn how our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you.
Positive Test or Diagnosis & Documentation Required
To receive the presumption offered under this law, the sick individual with COVID-19 must be proven by a positive laboratory test or diagnosis and documentation by one of the following health care providers:
- Licensed physician
- Licensed physician’s assistant
- Licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)
Presumption Can Be Rebutted
As with any other legal presumption, there is a chance for your employer or insurer to rebut it. To do so, it is up to the employer or insurer to prove that “the employment was not a direct cause of the disease.” If they can do prove that, then they can deny the employee’s request for work comp benefits.
Have Questions About This Work Comp Bill? Reach Out to Our Team.
Our work comp attorneys will continue to keep an eye on this bill and any others that may arise during this COVID-19 crisis. We will share what we learn and will be here to help if you need it. Contact our team to learn more.