Good news for Minnesota first responders, doctors and nurses who contracted COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic. The state Legislature has extended its temporary rule making it easier for people in those jobs to qualify for workers’ compensation.
Under ordinary Minnesota workers’ comp law, the burden of proof is on the injured or sickened worker to show a connection between their condition and their work duties. With something as contagious and widespread as Covid, it can be very difficult to prove that you were sickened on the job, even when you work with and among sick people for a living.
Shifting the burden of proof
Last year, the Legislature passed a law that temporarily changes the procedure in favor of front-line medical workers who contracted Covid. For now, it is up to the employer to prove that the employee seeking workers’ compensation did not catch the disease at work.
The law was set to expire on May 1, but before that could happen, the Legislature passed another bill to extend the change through the end of 2021. It applies to:
- Police officers
- Correctional officers
- Home health care workers
- Long-term care workers
- Child care providers
People in these jobs who have contracted a serious form of Covid and missed a long period of work can still take advantage of the temporary rules. Unfortunately, people in other industries that exposed workers to a high risk of catching Covid, such as grocery store workers and teachers, must make workers’ comp claims under the traditional rules.
A helpful move for Minnesota’s medical workforce
By extending the temporary rule change, the Legislature has hopefully made it easier for some of Minnesota’s bravest and most indispensable workers to collect their rightful workers’ compensation. Meanwhile, other workers who believe they contracted Covid at work can still apply for benefits.