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Worker’s Comp and COVID-19

The big question is “Is Coronavirus covered by workers compensation in Michigan?”

the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity states “An ordinary disease of life to which the public is generally exposed outside of the employment is not compensable.”

Are occupational diseases covered?
According to the workers’ compensation statute, “Personal injury includes a disease or disability that is due to causes and conditions that are characteristic of and peculiar to the business of the employer and that arises out of and in the course of the employment.”  Another way to describe these might be injuries or diseases that arise over time.  Remember, the key with any injury is that it must be attributable to work.  For example, the statute goes on to state that, “An ordinary disease of life to which the public is generally exposed outside of the employment is not compensable.”,5863,7-336-78421_95508_79556_79557-407198–,00.html



Relayed from our claim administrators at CompOne

We have solicited legal opinions on the subject, and the consistent response is NO, for two main reasons:

  1. The illness must be “occupational”, arose out of the scope and course of employment
  2. The illness must arise from conditions and causes characteristic and peculiar to the business of the employer.

There is little question that the Coronavirus is not a disease characteristic or peculiar to any particular industry or employment.

As Self-Insured employers of CompOne, particularly those where the type of job may expose them to higher incidence (Medical Staff or First Responders), have often in the past made the decision to cover initial testing as a Work Comp Exposure. CompOne can support this decision, however, is unlikely to be covered by Excess Insurance Coverage.

We encourage our clients to refer to their human resources consulting partners for assistance. Public providers of reliable health information are also offering guidance on coronavirus prevention and workplace responses, such as:

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), with specific information on dealing with infectious disease in the workplace.

The spread of COVID-19 is a serious matter and will be addressed as such. Please know that we are doing all we can to ensure that no harm comes to our employees as we continue to service our customers.

For further resources regarding COVID-19 please visit the MBA’s COVID-19 Resources page

The page contains a range of resources to assist banks as they prudently plan and prepare for the 2019 novel coronavirus. It will be regularly updated to include the latest situational assessments and guidance from public health officials. It also includes business continuity planning recommendations and other relevant information from financial regulatory agencies as well as guidance on how to communicate with employees, customers and the public.