By: Rich Lenkov
In one of the first moves after the Illinois legislature went back into session, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill on 5/22/20 making it easier for employees claiming COVID-19 to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The bill creates a rebuttal presumption that the virus was contracted on the job for police and fire personnel, EMTs and paramedics, health care providers, corrections officers and essential workers identified in Gov. JB Pritzker’s 3/20/20 Executive Order. To qualify, the employee must have interacted with the public or worked with more than 15 co-workers. The employee has to prove that they received a positive COVID-19 test or a test showing a presence of COVID-19 antibodies.
An employer can rebut the presumption with evidence including, but not limited to:
- The employee was working from home for 14 days before testing positive
- The employer is following federal and state guidelines through practices like PPEs and social distancing
- The employee was exposed by an alternative source
Significantly, the rebuttal presumption does not carry the benefit of a higher standard of proof, which is different from the earlier version we reported on in our last newsflash. The employer can overcome the burden through the standard preponderance of evidence.
The new law applies to employees who contracted the virus between 3/9/20 and 12/31/20. We expect Gov. Pritzker to sign the bill this week.
- The presumption is rebuttable. If you are ensuring a safe workplace, you should fight COVID-19 claims
- Nothing in this bill changes the fact that most COVID-19 cases result in no significant permanent partial disability