What Is Workers Compensation and What Does It Offer?
Employers and companies are bound to pay a worker’s compensation if their employees are injured at work during any activity. An employee who has been offered workers compensation from the date of his joining can avail fringe medical benefits against his disability or medical claims. Under workers’ compensation, if the employee is unable to work due to his medical condition, he or she will receive a certain percentage of weekly income. During the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, if an employee has a medical condition or cannot work, then that employee can receive 60% of his weekly pay up to $1,431.66 per week.
Is COVID-19 Covered in Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If a worker or an employee suffers from COVID-19 and claims for workers’ compensation benefits, then they must present documents and medical records which support the claim. Moreover, the employee would have to establish that they contracted the virus in the workplace and not somewhere in the community. In general, workers’ compensation benefits do not cover the illness caused due to the spread of uncertain viruses and infectious diseases, however, COVID-19 may be covered.
In What Circumstances Are Viruses Covered?
Massachusetts law of M. G. L. c. 152, Section 1(7A) clearly states that only such viruses and their hazards are covered, which are contracted at work due to the risky settings. Paramedics and workers working in hospitals and health care units are covered under worker’s compensation benefits as they are most likely to be in contact with the COVID-19 virus.
If the Massachusetts House bill 4739 is passed, workers would more easily qualify for compensation benefits, if they contracted the COVID-19 virus from their workspace. Employees and staff interacting with the public in grocery shops, retail units, living facilities, and essential businesses would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits more easily also. However, this law is yet to be passed so it is currently very difficult to prove an employee is entitled to workman’s compensation benefits.
How Can the Employers Remain Safe from Liability?
Presently, only health care providers and workers working in essential businesses qualify for insurance benefits in the case of COVID-19 under worker’s compensation claims. However, the workers’ compensation claims would not cover medical expenses or wages of workers who got exposed to the virus outside the workplace.
Many employers and organizations have minimized their risk of facing employee lawsuits by making their employees sign the waiver of employer liability for COVID-19 in the workplace. Many employees and workers bargain over the COVID-19 situation, and employers are forced to accept their few terms and conditions under pressure.
How Can Employers Protect Themselves from Facing Employee Lawsuits?
An employer who fails to comply with safety standards and implementation of SOP’s might face serious lawsuits. At present, the congress committee is considering minimizing the risks of liability of the employer from employee lawsuits; however, this decision is still under review. It is the prime responsibility of employers to comply with CDC and OSHA safety standards and create a safer working environment. For More Information on What Is Workers Compensation and What It Offers in Massachusetts. Call Attorney Todd Beauregard 978-275-1919.