Illinois expands COVID-19 comp protections to most frontline workers

The Illinois Workers Compensation Commission issued an emergency amendment Monday that creates a rebuttable presumption for front-line workers who contract COVID-19 — expanding the definition far beyond first responders and health care workers to include everything from grocery and pharmacy workers to hotel and funeral service employees.

The emergency amendment revises the Illinois Workers Occupational Diseases Act to provide workers compensation protections to first responders and front-line workers who are exposed to or contract the virus, according to the amendment notice.

The amendment states that when a first responder or front-line worker is incapacitated by COVID-19 during a state of emergency, it is presumed that the exposure arose out of and in the course of the worker’s employment and is causally connected to the hazards of the worker’s employment unless proved otherwise.

Front-line workers covered under this amendment include those in the following industries: grocery and pharmacy; food, beverage and cannabis production; charitable and social service organizations; gas stations and businesses needed for transportation; financial institutions; hardware and supply stores; critical trades; mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services; educational institutions; laundry services; restaurants for consumption off-premises; essential business and work-from-home suppliers; home-based care and services; residential facilities and shelters; professional services; day-care centers for children of essential workers; manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries; critical labor union functions; hotels and motels; and funeral services.

The emergency rule will expire in 150 days if no earlier action is taken.

On Friday, Kentucky became the first state to extend protections to grocery store, day-care and Postal Service workers.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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