Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Ensuring Workers' Compensation Eligibility for Frontline COVID-19-Response Workers
On June 17, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-125 (Updated No. 2020-128), which clarifies Workers' Disability Compensation Act (WDCA) eligibility for frontline workers during the COVID-19 emergency.
Under normal circumstances, employees seeking entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits must demonstrate, in part, the existence of a work-related injury that prevents the employee from performing his or her job duties. Due to the possibility of asymptomatic transfer of COVID-19, requiring workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to demonstrate they contracted COVID-19 in the course of their employment unfairly shifts risk to the worker and may hinder Michigan's emergency response by undermining confidence in the worker's compensation system among the most critical members of the workforce.
Under Executive Order 2020-125, a COVID-19-response worker who is confirmed as COVID-19 positive on or after March 18, 2020, either by physician or by test, is presumed to have suffered a "personal injury," as defined by the WDCA and is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This order is effective immediately and remains in effect during the declared states of emergency and disaster.