Over the last couple of weeks, we discussed how COVID-19 is now considered a workplace hazard and that an infectious disease prevention program will become a requirement in most provinces.
Today we are moving on to examine how COVID-19 is assessed in the event of a workers compensation claim and what the impact is to both the dealership and any of your employees that contract COVID-19 at work.
Is COVID-19 eligible for compensation?
The short answer is yes it is.
Although coronaviruses themselves, which are common, are not generally accepted this particular new strain COVID-19 and its variants of concern can be - in specific circumstances.
What are the criteria?
Although each claim is examined individually, the general requirement for a claim to be accepted as a work-related occupational disease is that evidence must show that the person’s risk of contracting the disease through their employment is greater than the risk to which the public at large is exposed and that work significantly contributed to the person’s illness.
An example that an adjudicator may look for is if there is an outbreak within the workplace that exposed multiple employees to the disease through close contact.
And adjudicator may also assess the quality and consistency of preventative measures within the dealership.
The majority of claims approved across Canada have been in the healthcare and education professions, however, the dealership industry has not been exempt due to being an industry that has public traffic.
How likely is it a claim would be accepted?
On average across Canada out of all the claims for COVID-19 that have been submitted approximately 86% have been accepted. Thankfully, only an average of 1% of accepted claims are attributed to the dealership and automotive world.
It is important for employers and workers to also understand that only symptomatic cases are generally eligible for time-loss benefits. Preventative withdraw from work is not.
For example, if an employee is required to isolate out of precaution or preventative measures but has no symptoms lost-time wages will likely not be paid by the provincial compensation board.
If they develop symptoms during their isolation their claim may be eligible for reassessment.
How will this impact my rate and costs?
COVID-19 claims in 2020 and 2021 should not affect your rate setting and premium models.
You may wish to contact your regional compensation board for information on your account specifically and what the future may hold for potential claims.
As we are now entering the official fourth wave of the disease, largely driven by the delta variant of concern, this is the perfect time to implement an infectious disease prevention program and keep on top of preventative measures in the dealership.
And as always contact your provincial compensation board for specific information on COVID-19 claims and resources related to occupational diseases.
Did you know our Professional Advisory department at DealerPILOT HR has extensive experience in compensation claims and disability management? One of our advisors previously was an Occupational Disease Adjudicator for WCB Manitoba.
We are always happy to chat with our clients about these issues, connect with us today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for either Chrissy or Sandra.