Whether a claim for workers’ compensation for contracting the COVID-19 virus is accepted is a matter for the relevant workers’ compensation authority, applying their jurisdictions’ workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation authorities will consider each claim on its merits, with regards to the individual circumstances and evidence.
Each State and Territory has its own legislation with respect to workers’ compensation, with each specifying the criteria to be met before a claim can be approved.
However, most schemes generally set the following in order for workers to be eligible for compensation:
- would need to be covered by the scheme, either as an employee or a deemed worker,
- would need to have an injury, illness or disease of a kind covered by the scheme, that arose out of or in the course of their employment.
Compared to work-related injuries, it can be more difficult to prove that a disease was contracted in, or caused by, employment. In the case of a virus such as COVID-19, establishing the time and place of contraction may become increasingly hard. Whilst the spread of COVID-19 is contained, it may be easier to establish whether contraction is work-related, for example, if in the course of their employment a worker travels to a high-risk area with a known viral outbreak or interacts with people who have contracted the virus.
However, once the virus becomes more widespread in the local community, establishing the degree of contribution of a worker’s employment to their contraction of the virus will inevitably be more difficult.
Click on the following links to read what the State/Territory regulators have said about this issue: