Whitmer reissues order providing workers comp benefits for COVID-19

Medical workers, police officers and firefighters are eligible if they test positive for the illness
A medic with the Michigan National Guard tests a Mackinac Island worker for COVID-19. The...
A medic with the Michigan National Guard tests a Mackinac Island worker for COVID-19. The Guard, along with the county health department held a free walk-thru COVID-19 testing event indoors for all residents and seasonal workers on the island on August 26, 2020.(Photo by Michigan National Guard Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 12:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Health care workers and first responders who test positive for coronavirus again will be eligible for workers compensation benefits under an order Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reissued Friday.

Workers in hospitals, medical facilities and emergency medical settings can apply for benefits under the Workers' Disability Compensation Act if they are diagnosed with COVID-19. Whitmer’s emergency rules also apply to police officers and firefighters.

Medical workers, police officers and firefighters are presumed to have contracted COVID-19 on the job and automatically eligible for workers compensation benefits.

“These brave men and women have been on the front lines of this pandemic, putting themselves at risk to protect our families,” Whitmer said. “These emergency rules will provide some crucial support for these workers who are most susceptible to contracting COVID-19.”

She previously issued an order providing workers compensation to medical workers and first responders under the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act, which the Michigan Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. The new emergency rule is being made under a process spelled out in the Workers Disability Compensation Act of 1969.

The COVID-19 workers compensation rule will remain in effect until March 20, 2021.

“While employees in Michigan must be covered by workers' compensation and may file a claim for benefits if injured at work, these rules will help ensure that those closest to the virus won’t be fighting for benefits if they’re also faced with fighting COVID-19,” said Deputy Director of Labor Sean Egan.

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