Lights Out On The COVID-19 Presumption

The COVID-19 presumption, set forth in Minn. Stat. 176.011 subd. 15(f) for certain healthcare workers and first responders, sunset as of 11:59 p.m. on January 13, 2023, turning the lights off on the statutory workers’ compensation presumption. In effect, the COVID-19 presumption will not apply to any injuries after January 13, 2023, and workers in occupations where the presumption applied may still assert claims of workplace COVID-19 exposure resulting in a personal injury but will not have the presumption of compensability and will have the burden of proving that they contracted COVID-19 due to workplace exposure.

The presumption was originally allowed to sunset on December 31, 2021, but the legislature reenacted the presumption at the beginning of the 2022 legislative session with a sunset clause of 11:59 p.m. on January 13, 2023.  Unlike 2022, there appears to be no desire on the part of the 2023 legislature to extend the COVID-19 presumption.

Bottom Line

The end of the COVID-19 presumption does not foreclose future claims for work related COVID-19 personal injuries. With the lights being turned off on the COVID-19 presumption for workers’ compensation compensability for covered employment groups, all employees now have the burden of proving all elements necessary to collect workers’ compensation benefits relating to alleged workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees must prove that the illness arose out of and in the course of employment. Felhaber will continue to monitor the situation and update you as developments warrant.