Workers Compensation and COVID-19

If you experience a work-related injury or occupational disease due to COVID, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation alleviates some of the difficulty and complexity with settling differences between employees and employers, and it provides assurance that employees will be made whole again.

In January, 2023, the Department of Labor (DOL) set out criteria that federal workers must establish in a claim for workers’ compensation related to COVID-19. Federal workers diagnosed with COVID-19 after January 27, 2023. 

Most importantly, a physician must determine that the infection was caused in connection with an event or factors during the employee’s job performance. In other words, the infection must be related to the employment. The employee also must file a claim for workers compensation within the statutes of limitations set by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA).

Visit the DOL’s page on COVID-19 and federal workers’ compensation for more information.

Workers compensation laws and COVID-19 vary by state. Generally, they do not cover routine community-spread illnesses like a cold or the flu because they usually cannot be directly tied to the workplace; however, COVID-19 is a unique illness where jobs that weren’t previously considered hazardous have become dangerous for workers.  See the National Conference of State Legislators for information on state actions related to workers compensation and COVID-19.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.