Whitmer: Frontline health care workers affected by COVID-19 'eligible' for workers' compensation

Workers wanted in home health care field
Posted at 11:16 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 11:22:45-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed emergency rules to clarify workers’ compensation coverage for health care employees and first responders who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The emergency rules apply to workers in the medical industry, including hospitals, medical care facilities, and emergency medical services, as well as law enforcement, fire safety and others. According to the governor's office, these employees are presumed eligible for compensable personal injuries under the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, either by a physician or as the result of a presumed positive test result.

“These brave men and women have been on the front lines of this pandemic, putting themselves at risk to protect our families,” said Governor Whitmer. “These emergency rules will provide some crucial support for these workers who are most susceptible to contracting COVID-19. My administration will continue to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of our families, frontline workers, and small businesses.”

The governor concurred with the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director’s finding that issuance of emergency rules was necessary to protect public health, and the rules are effective immediately.

“While employees in Michigan must be covered by workers’ compensation and may file a claim for benefits if injured at work, these rules will help ensure that those closest to the virus won’t be fighting for benefits if they’re also faced with fighting COVID-19,” said Sean Egan, LEO Deputy Director of Labor.

These emergency rules replace protections previously afforded by Executive Order 2020-128, which is no longer effective as a result of the Michigan Supreme Court’s finding that the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 is unconstitutional.

They are effective through March 20, 2021.

View the emergency rules here.