A worker who contracts COVID-19 during their employment would be entitled to claim workers compensation benefits to secure income support for any time lost from work due to incapacity and for medical expenses.
However, we expect that many workers who contract COVID-19 will experience some difficulty in establishing, on the balance of probabilities, that they contracted it during their employment.
Who can claim workers compensation for contracting COVID-19?
Front line health workers who are tending to people with COVID-19 we expect would have little difficulty in establishing that they contracted the illness during their employment. Similarly, a worker who becomes ill after having worked with or near someone who has tested positive for the virus, or after travelling to one of the “hot spots” overseas for work, may have no difficulty establishing an entitlement.
However, we anticipate that, for the vast majority of workers it may be difficult to establish that they contracted COVID-19 in the workplace (whether that be in their home or at the employer’s premises) as opposed to walking the streets, travelling on public transport, or visiting friends.
What should I do if I contracted COVID-19 at work?
If you believe that you have contracted COVID-19 during your employment, you should seek legal advice. Please note however, that unlike other fields of workplace law, there is not necessarily any urgency about making a workers compensation claim.
The Return to Work Act requires claims to be made within 6 months of the commencement of incapacity, so someone who contracts COVID-19 will not need to take urgent action while they are suffering the worst effects of the virus.
Find this article interesting or useful?
If you can't find what you're looking for, feel free to get in touch with us with your query or request for a particular article to be written.