The recent global pandemic created issues for workers everywhere. Some workers are considered essential workers, facing health scares on their jobs.

Many are wondering if they can get workers’ compensation if they contract COVID-19. Louisiana is considering a bill that would ensure essential workers qualify if they contract the disease.

Louisiana’s current legislation and COVID-19 protections

Under Louisiana’s current law, workers’ compensation may not available to all employees. Even essential workers might not be able to collect the benefits.

The laws do not provide workers compensation for all people who contract COVID-19. The essential workers might be at higher risk, but they might not be protected if there is a pandemic

A proposed bill would protect essential workers

Louisiana is considering Senate Bill 475. It would protect essential workers who contract COVID-19. It would make it possible for them to qualify for workers’ compensation. It also makes workers comp death benefits available for their dependents.

If the bill passes, workers’ compensation claims would have to be filed within a year of the date they contracted the disease. If the worker died, their dependents would have one year from the date of their death to file. In some cases, they would have a year from the date they had reasonable grounds to believe COVID-19 caused the death.

Who is an essential worker and when are they protected?

Essential workers could include emergency responders, government workers, healthcare or public safety employees. They might also work for private businesses considered necessary for public safety or critical response.

Protections would begin immediately if the bill is signed. Employers must post the notice. If they do not, the time to apply would be extended six months.