Healthcare workers and public employees are among those at highest risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection. Primex3, a public risk management exchange that provides Worker’s Compensation coverage for New Hampshire municipal and school district employees recently announced:
A person defined as a public entity “employee” who contracts COVID-19 through a known positive source as a result of employment will be covered for their resulting medical expenses and lost wages for both the prescribed quarantine and recovery periods.
Of course they will! That’s the law. Proving that an occupational disease is the result of on the job exposure to their satisfaction in a timely manner is another matter.
Primex3 also announced that during the State of Emergency declared by Governor Sununu:
An employee required to quarantine following an actual or potential exposure to COVID-19 as a result of employment, but who does not contract the virus, will receive coverage for the cost of the prescribed testing and prophylaxis, and compensation for the lost wages resulting from quarantine for a period of up to fourteen days.
We applaud Primex3 for acknowledging this responsibility to New Hampshire public employees.
Being medically barred from the workplace because of infection, or potential infection, with a deadly, highly contagious disease is different from the commonplace notion of a disability from employment. And after the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak and 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, compensation for lost wages due to quarantining was similarly a subject of conversation among lawmakers. Clarifying legislation was not introduced in New Hampshire during these outbreaks while concerns ran high. However, the right to medical and lost wage benefits during a quarantine period that results from workplace exposure to a contagious disease is clearly the intent of Worker’s Compensation laws.
As with the COVID-19 pandemic itself, time is the enemy for those who are out of work because of exposure to the disease. If you or someone you know has a COVID-19 or other occupational disease claim, we are ready to help.
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