As information on COVID-19 continues to evolve, we will bring you information from trusted sources to ensure you are well-informed.
Be sure to check for the latest updates from ABD’s COVID-19 Portal as well as various websites, including: Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, OSHA, State and Local Health Departments, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, State Workers’ Compensation Departments, Department of Labor and National Council on Compensation Insurance.
COVID-19 Compensability Presumption
Several states have enacted, issued, or have pending regulatory and legislative activity regarding COVID-19 workers’ compensation presumptions. Click here for updates posted to NCCI’s website.
California Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau: Special Regulatory Filing
The California Department of Insurance held a public telephonic hearing on May 18, 2020 to consider the WCIRB’s July 1 special regulatory filing. The filing contains proposals to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes, if approved by the Insurance commissioner, would be effective July 1, 2020:
- Exclude COVID-19 claims from experience rating
- Claims arising directly from a diagnosis of COVID-19 with an accident date on or after December 1, 2019, would be excluded from the experience rating calculations of individual employers.
- Exclude payments to employees who continue to be paid while not working
- Payments made to employees who are continuing to be paid while not engaged in any work activities would be excluded from reportable payroll. Exclusion would apply while California’s statewide stay-at-home order is in place and for up to 30 days thereafter if the employee continues not to work.
- Allow assignment of classification 8810 for temporary change in duties
- The temporary assignment of classification 8810, clerical office employees would be allowed for employees whose job duties meet the definition of a clerical office employee. This would apply while California’s statewide stay-at-home order is in place and for up to 60 days thereafter if the employee continues to meet the definition of a clerical office employee, but does not apply to the payroll of employees whose payroll is otherwise assignable to a standard classification that specifically includes clerical office employees.
National Council on workers’ compensation (NCCI) COVID-19 updates
NCCI’s website has posted Frequently Asked Questions and responses addressing COVID-19 and the impact it may have on the workers’ compensation industry, including but not limited to questions on experience rating, reportable payroll, and classifications.
National Essential Frontline Worker Compensation Fund
May 13, 2020: Five U.S. Senators submitted a letter to the Congressional leadership proposing the creation of a new federal fund to reimburse essential frontline workers for expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-9 pandemic, or as a result of diagnosis and treatment.
The essential frontline worker compensation fund would help workers safely stay on the job and afford medical costs, transportation, temporary housing, childcare as well as care for other long-lasting traumas that may come with serving at the forefront of the pandemic, including testing positive for COVID-19.
The Senators proposed essential frontline workers eligible for this reimbursement should include, at a minimum: health care workers, first responders, sanitation workers, transportation workers, grocery store pharmacy employees, domestic workers, farmworkers and other workers whose work or workplace are deemed essential by federal, state and local governments.
Read more on the Call for Creation of New Fund to Support Essential Frontline Workers here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
COVID-19 update on symptoms
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Individuals with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Some of these symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
This list does not cover all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. We encourage you to visit the CDC as information is updated often.
April 10, 2020: OSHA issued a memo to regional administrators and states clarifying its position on recordability of COVID-19 cases in the workplace. Under OSHA’s current recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is considered a recordable illness. Employers are required to record cases if the following applies:
- “the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- the case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5
- the case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7”
However, OSHA noted that in industries other than healthcare, firefighting, law enforcement, and correctional institutions it may be difficult to determine work-relatedness. OSHA clarified that due to this difficulty, they are not enforcing the requirement to determine work relatedness for industries other than those just listed except in situations where:
- “There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, a number of cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation; and
- The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of reasonably available evidence include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees.”
Read the memorandum regarding enforcement of duty to determine work relatedness here.
Employer Resources: Worker Safety and Guidelines
General Business FAQ
CDC posted several questions, responses and guidelines on various topics related to COVID-19 in the workplace, including suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, reducing the spread of COVID-19, healthy business operations, cleaning and disinfection and critical infrastructure. Read more on the General Business FAQs here.
Specific Industry Guidelines
American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), OSHA, and CDC have posted guidelines on numerous industries, including but not limited to: general office, retail, restaurants, hair and nail salons, childcare centers, construction gym and workout facilities, ride share, taxi and limo services.
- Back to Work Safely through Back to Work Safely™, sponsored by AIHA
- United States Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration, COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Worker Safety and Support
CDC lists websites for State and Territorial Departments of Public Health
CDC posted downloadable videos on several COVID-19 related topics, i.e. symptoms, infection control, travel, personal protective equipment, etc.
OSHA has several workplace posters and guidance alerts – check here often for updates!
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is for informational, educational and discussion purposes only and shall serve solely as a resource to be used together with your ABD professional insurance advisors in making risk management decisions. While ABD endeavors to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the information contained in this document. The information provided herein does not constitute professional advice, nor does ABD provide professional advice beyond our current or prospective broker-client relationship. If you have legal, tax or financial planning questions, we advise you to contact a licensed professional. If any actions or decisions are made based solely on the information provided herein without consultation with a licensed professional, you do so at your own risk and ABD shall have no liability resulting from such action or decisions.