The Minnesota Legislature Brings Back the COVID-19 Presumption

After allowing the COVID-19 presumption set forth in Minn. Stat. 176.011, subd. 15 (f) for certain healthcare workers and first responders to expire on December 31, 2021, the Minnesota Legislature voted in bipartisan unity to reinstate the COVID-19 presumption of compensability for workplace exposure.  The presumption was initially passed in April 2020 and created a presumption of compensability for workers’ compensation claims of specifically enumerated healthcare workers, first responders, and long-term care workers.  The presumption was allowed to sunset out as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2021, but given the increase in cases, the legislature voted to re-extend the presumption through January 13, 2023.  Governor Walz signed the bill on February 4, 2022.

Bottom Line

The law extends the presumption that certain healthcare workers and first responders who test positive for COVID-19 caught the virus due to workplace exposure and are thus entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  The law became effective on February 4, 2022, and is not retroactive to January 1, 2022. Therefore, workers in the covered work groups who test positive for COVID-19 while the presumption was not in effect have the burden of proving their exposure occurred in the course of employment.  During the debate on the floor of the legislature, the possibility of expanding the presumption to teachers was discussed but not acted upon.  We will keep you informed of any additional changes to the workers’ compensation act that may come out of the legislature.