IL Gov declares essential employees that contract COVID as protected by workers comp

CHICAGO – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declared Monday that any essential worker that contracts COVID-19 will be protected by employer-funded Workers’ Comp program.

With Illinois’ policy that employees are not required to prove causation of injury on the job, Pritzker’s declaration makes every Illinois employer responsible for workers compensation payments and settlements if their “essential” employees contract coronavirus.

As described in the executive order, those deemed “essential workers” by the Pritzker emergency declaration include:

The term “COVID-19 First Responder or Front-Line Worker” means any individuals employed as police, fire personnel, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics and all individuals employed and considered as first responders, health care providers engaged in patient care, correction officers, and the crucial personnel identified under the following headings in Section 1 Part 12 of Executive Order 2020-10 dated March 20, 2020:

“Stores that sell groceries and medicine”; “Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture”; “Organizations that provide charitable and social services”; “Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation”; “Financial institutions”; “Hardware and supplies stores”; “Critical trades”; “Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services”; “Educational institutions”; “Laundry services”; “Restaurants for consumption off-premises”; “Supplies to work from home”; “Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations”; “Transportation”; “Home-based care and services”; “Residential facilities and shelters”; “Professional services”; “Day care centers for employees exempted by [Executive Order 2020-10]”; “Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries”; “Critical labor union functions”; “Hotels and motels”; and “Funeral services”.

Pritzker’s declaration, however, may be met with strong, even legal challenges, Illinois political insiders are reporting.

Pritzker extended his “shelter in place” declaration to April 30, 2020, when he will reconsider the order.