Workers’ Compensation Coverage & COVID-19: Department Policy
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
March 9, 2020
Please see link to the news release from Governor Jay Inslee and L&I Director Joel Sacks concerning the department’s policy on workers’ compensation coverage for health care workers and first responders who are quarantined by a physician or public health officer. Under the clarified policy, workers’ compensation benefits must be provided benefits to these workers during the time they’re quarantined after being exposed to COVID-19 on the job. The policy also applies to others who may have accepted claims for exposure to COVID-19; for example, those who are not considered health care workers but are working in facilities with documented exposures or others whose claims may be approved.
As a reminder, answers to the following questions must be considered for workers who file claims and are not working in jobs or at facilities where exposure would be routinely expected:
Was there an increased risk or greater likelihood of exposure or contracting the disease due to the worker’s occupation (first responders or health care workers)?
If not for their job, would the worker have been exposed or contracted the condition?
Can the worker identify a specific source or event during their employment that resulted in exposure to COVID-19?
When exposure to or contraction of the disease is incidental to the workplace or common to all employment (for example, an office worker who may have been exposed through a fellow employee, or a waitress through a customer), the claim will likely be denied.