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Workers’ Compensation Possibly Available for Coronavirus Outbreaks


For the past month, people all over the world have been on high alert over the coronavirus. The disease, which started in China, has spread to more than 80 countries, including Italy, South Korea, Iran and the United States. Nearly 100,000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, with more than 3,300 people dying from it so far.

This has sent people into a panic. They are buying up hand sanitizer and disinfectants. They are wearing masks to protect themselves when out in public.

While experts are advising people to stay home and avoid human contact, this is not always possible. After all, people have to work for a living. While many people work remotely or have the ability to telecommute, many work in positions where they must conduct business with the public. This means that they have a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

So what happens if an employee does get the coronavirus because of their work? Will they get paid for staying home and recuperating—which can take weeks?

This will depend on the individual employer. If you get sick or are told to stay home to prevent contracting the coronavirus, your compensation—if any—will depend on your employer’s policies. There is no obligation for an employer to pay workers to stay home. While salaried workers will usually still get paid if business is disrupted in any way, employers are only obligated to pay hourly workers for time worked, under federal law.

The good news is that many companies—particularly larger ones—are making sure that workers get paid in some way, shape or form. According to a survey of 48 large employers by Business Group on Health, 68% would pay employees for as long as a quarantine was required, even if the employees could not work from home. Twelve percent would pay only for a fixed period of time.

If an employer decides not to pay quarantined employees, there are often other options available, such as sick time, vacation and personal days. New York City is one city that provides paid sick leave to workers, sometimes even to those who work part-time. However, the amount will depend on the size of the employer as well as the length of time the employee has worked. Union workers may be able to receive paid time off in an emergency, so they should check their  bargaining agreements. If the illness is work-related, a person may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits, just like they would if they were injured on the job.

Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The coronavirus epidemic is quickly spreading, and people are fearing for their lives. It is advisable for workers to avoid human contact if possible. Companies can take other precautions.

If you believe your job duties have caused you to suffer from the coronavirus or other illness, seek legal help from White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon. Since this is considered an emergency situation, you should be able to obtain some sort of pay. If your employer is not offering sick leave or some other compensation, workers’ compensation may be an option. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770.





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