from the Workers' Compensation Department

Legislation Proposed to Eliminate Burden of Proof for Workers Who Have Contracted the Coronavirus

On March 24, a co-sponsorship memo was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives calling for legislation that would eliminate the burden of proof for workers making a COVID-19 occupational disease claim. The proposal focuses on those on the frontlines of the pandemic—health care workers, first responders, grocery store workers and other essential employees. Although the proposed bill would require a claimant to prove that COVID-19 is occurring more in their occupation than in the general population, the coronavirus would be presumed to be an occupational disease for employees in lines of work that are life sustaining.

At this stage, the legislators are seeking early political support for their proposal. The specifics of the legislation are undefined. It is not law now, and it will likely be a long time before it is signed into law, if it is at all. Therefore, for the moment, coronavirus should not in any way be “presumed” to be an occupational disease under the Act, nor should a claimant’s burden of proof for a COVID-19 claim be considered relaxed.

We will continue to track developments concerning this legislative proposal and keep you apprised of its progress.


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