On May 22, 2020, the Illinois General Assembly amended the Illinois Occupational Disease Act to include a rebuttable presumption that if First Responders and Front-Line workers contract COVID-19, the disease is related to their employment. The presumption applies to both the accidental exposure and the causal relationship between the exposure and the employment.
It is expected that the Governor will sign this into law.
First Responders are defined as individuals employed as police, fire personnel, emergency medical technicians or paramedics; all individuals employed and considered as first responders; all workers for health care providers, including nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and home health care workers; and corrections officers.
Front-Line workers are those individuals employed by essential businesses as defined in Executive Order 2020-10 dated March 20, 2020 (click here to read the Executive Order). In order to be covered by this presumption Front-Line workers must be required by their employment to encounter members of the general public or work in employment locations of more than 15 people.
For purposes of this Amendment the persons home or place of residence is not considered a place of employment, except for home health care workers.
This presumption may be rebutted by evidence of, but not limited to:
The employee was working from home or on leave for 14 consecutive days prior to the employee’s injury (exposure);
The employer was enforcing industry specific industrial sanitation, social distancing and health and safety practices for 14 days prior to the exposure based on guidance from the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health;
The employee was exposed to COVID-19 by an alternative source.
For the presumption to apply, a COVID-19 diagnosis occurring on or before June 15, 2020 must be confirmed by a licensed medical provider or a positive laboratory test for COVID-19 or COVID-19 antibodies. After June 15, 2020 the diagnosis must be confirmed by a positive Laboratory test for COVID-19 or COVID-19 antibodies.
If an employee who contracts COVID-19 is unable to establish the rebuttable presumption they are still able to prove that the exposure is related to their work under the WC or OD Act.
Please contact Ridge & Downes at 1-800-572-1136 to speak with an attorney regarding this new legislation and how it may affect you or your loved ones.