Workers Comp in the Age of COVID-19

The labor movement is working nonstop to protect the health and safety of all working people throughout Connecticut, and especially for essential workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virginia Ligi is a state correction officer and Executive Board member of AFSCME Local 387, which represents front-line prison employees in the Cheshire Correctional Complex. She joined bus drivers, grocery store clerks, nurses and other essential employees for a Connecticut AFL-CIO press conference urging Gov. Ned Lamont to sign an executive order that establishes a workers’ compensation presumption.

  • Click here to read press coverage about workers’ compensation presumption.

Presumptive coverage means that an essential worker contracted COVID-19 on the job. This would allow workers’ compensation claims to be processed in a timely manner and prevent these essential employees from having to go through a protracted appeals process while they are sick and struggling to recover.

The COVID-19 crisis has clearly shined a light on the importance of workers’ compensation, which is designed to ensure that employees receive important healthcare and wage benefits when they are injured on the job.

Sadly, insurance companies, who are in an unholy alliance with the employer community and the big business lobby, routinely deny workers compensation claims.

Eric Chester,  an attorney with Ferguson, Doyle, & Chester in Rocky Hill, has represented healthcare workers, firefighters, and other frontline workers seeking workers’ compensation benefits. “Shockingly, [insurance company] denials assert that...frontline worker[s] may not have contracted the dangerous virus in the course of their employment,” he said. “This is a betrayal to the workers we are asking to protect us every day by putting themselves in harm’s way.

“Sick workers will have to exhaust their accumulated sick time, pay for treatment, and will likely suffer a loss in wages while they are forced to navigate a lengthy appeals process with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. They deserve better,” Chester added.

Fortunately, unions exist to help protect workers when they are being treated unfairly. Council 4 routinely provides guidance to our members when they are navigating the workers’ compensation system. We also provide regular workers’ compensation trainings with experts from the state Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Now more than ever, it’s important to know your rights under workers’ compensation law.

  • Click here for the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s Guidance for Workers Who May Need to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim Related to COVID-19.
  • Click here for Council 4’s worksite flyer, “What To Do If You Are Injured on the Job.
  • Click here for the State of CT Workers' Compensation Commission information packet,