Many people have been furloughed, laid off or working from home in isolation for months. However, as businesses begin to reopen in many states, some employees are heading back to work in person. As this happens, employees are also at risk of COVID-19 infection.
When you are hurt because of work, you typically are able to seek worker’s compensation benefits to help you cope and recover. As people are now dealing with the COVID-19 virus, many are also dealing with what happens if they are infected while at work. Is workers compensation applicable?
The complications of a virus
The purpose of worker’s compensation is to provide funds and relief for those who experience industry “arising out and occurring in the course of their employment.” This is sometimes a clear-cut line when someone falls from a ladder at their warehouse job, but in circumstances like these when there is a viral illness involved, it can be more difficult to determine if the infection came from work or not.
On May 6, 2020, the California governor announced that workers who contract COVID-19 when working during the state Stay at Home Order may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. As the state begins to open and the Stay at Home order is lifted, supposedly on July 5, accommodations for workers and seeking worker’s compensation may change.
Fighting for benefits during such uncertain times can be difficult. Many are facing new, challenging circumstances. Laws continue to change on the subject and worker’s compensation may continue to be affected as Stay at Home orders change.