How does COVID-19 play into Workers Comp coverage for your employees?
In short, we just don’t know enough about how this will play out. Typically, a cold or flu is not covered by workers comp because they are not easily proven to have come from the workplace. But in this FAQ section of NCCI the answer has become “maybe”. https://www.ncci.com/Articles/Pages/Insights-Coronavirus-FAQs.aspx This throws a wrinkle into the traditional way we think about illnesses common to humans outside the workplace.
NCCI’s response to “Is COVID-19 compensable under state workers compensation acts? The following response was given:
“While workers compensation laws provide compensation for “occupational diseases” that arise out of and in the course of employment, many state statutes exclude “ordinary diseases of life” (e.g., the common cold or flu). There are occupational groups that arguably would have a higher probability of exposure such as healthcare workers. However, even in those cases, there may be uncertainty as to whether the disease is compensable.
As of now, some states have pending legislative initiatives to expand the coverage for certain workers. Other state legislatures are currently meeting and discussing these issues and it is expected that these states may introduce similar initiatives relative to workers’ compensation.”
The best advice I have given my customers is to stay on top of the legislative activity which can be found at the following link: https://www.ncci.com/Articles/Pages/II_LegislativeActivity.aspx
You can follow this link to see the latest legislative activity from the federal government: https://www.ncci.com/Articles/Pages/II_LegislativeAnalysisState_FEDERAL.aspx
With so much changing daily we can only digest what’s given to us daily. We know this is a moving target and why we suggest bookmarking the above links to know exactly the latest information as it happens. The work comp implications are also unknown. If you have suspended operations and continue to pay your employees there has been a recent rule change filing.
“NCCI recognizes that circumstances around COVID 19 are extraordinary and warrant an expedited rule change to address the question of payroll for employees who are being paid but are not working as it relates to the basis of premium. If approved, this rule change will be distinct from “idle time” under our current Basic Manual rules (Rule 2-F-1), and a corresponding statistical code 0012 will be created for reporting this payroll. This payroll will not be used in the calculation of premiums.
Other actions are underway by some companies and individual states to respond to this question, so an emphasis on creating as uniform an approach as possible is being pursued for approval by regulators. The details of the proposed rule changes will be included in a filing that will be submitted to state regulators in all NCCI states. The filing is expected to be made the week of April 20.”