Workers' Compensation Benefits & COVID-19: CT Executive Order 7JJJ
On July 24, 2020, Connecticut’s Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7JJJ regarding the processing of COVID-19-related workers' compensation cases. The Executive Order creates a rebuttable presumption that an employee who submits a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and who missed one or more days of work between March 10, 2020, and May 20, 2020, due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, contracted COVID-19 as an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of their employment. However, the employee must also satisfy the following conditions:
- The employee, at the employer’s direction, worked outside their home during at least one of the fourteen days prior to the “date of injury” and had not received an offer or directive from the employer to work from home instead of the place of employment;
- If the employee’s date of injury was after April 6, 2020, the employee must be working for an “essential” employer as defined by Connecticut’s Department of Economic & Community Development;
- The employee’s COVID-19 contraction was confirmed by a positive laboratory test within three weeks of the date of injury, or diagnosed and documented within three weeks of the date of injury by a licensed physician, licensed physician’s assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse, based on the employee’s symptoms; and
- A copy of the positive laboratory test was provided to the employer or insurer.
Employers can rebut the presumption only by demonstrating, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the employment itself did not cause the employee to contract COVID-19. If an employer requires its employees to work from home, or strongly advises employees to work from home, it is less likely than an employee’s COVID-19 infection was attributable to the workplace. Because employment laws are under frequent revision to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult with legal counsel to resolve any questions or concerns.