Earlier this year, Ohio legislators introduced multiple bills to expand Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We previously reported the proposed legislation here and here.
Lawmakers sought to create a presumption that certain employees, including first responders, corrections officers, food processing plant employees and retail food establishment employees, who contracted COVID-19, did so in the course of and arising out of their employment. The proposed change provided employees with an easier route to establishing a compensable, COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claim.
The proposed bill passed by the Ohio House contained this presumption. In the Ohio Senate, all changes to the Ohio workers’ compensation laws were removed, and the version that passed the Senate does not alter the Ohio workers’ compensation laws to address COVID-19 claims. Rather, for now, the existing workers’ compensation laws addressing occupational diseases contracted in the workplace will be used to adjudicate COVID-19 claims.
The legislation passed by the Ohio Senate will now seek concurrence from the Ohio House due to the revisions to the bill and will then be sent to the Governor for signature. We will keep you updated should any new amendments to Ohio workers’ compensation laws be introduced.
Information about COVID-19 and its impact on local, state and federal levels is changing rapidly. This article may not reflect updates to news, executive orders, legislation and regulations made after its publication date. Visit our COVID-19 resource page to find the most current information.