According to WSBC, if a worker contracts COVID-19 as a direct result of their employment, they may be entitled to compensation, if there is evidence of a medical diagnosis or non-medical factual evidence and if the nature of their work created a greater risk than normal exposure via the general population.
Employers are still expected to file reports during this time, including suspected COVID 19 claims, which will be adjudicated accordingly.
WSBC has advised that the GRTW would proceed, as if the worker was in attendance. WSBC would pay for the days in treatment and the employer could pay for the days the worker was expected at work, or the worker could collect EI. A revised GRTW would need to be provided to the employer, for approval. *WSBC is currently considering if, relief of costs may be applied for that period of isolation, to avoid unfairness to the employer.
At this time, WorkSafeBC has advised they would continue to pay wage loss, if the worker is still considered temporarily disabled. However, further discussion is highly recommended with the Case Manager.
According to WSBC, If a worker has recovered from their injury, they are not entitled to further wage-loss benefits.
WorkSafeBC has currently advised they would continue to pay for loss of wages, in the event that the employer is unable to pay the worker's wages during the shut down. Until a time, that medical evidence supports that the worker has recovered, or work has resumed. Claims Management is still crucial at this time to ensure best possible outcomes for all.
The Chief Review Officer has currently advised, extensions of time may be granted under section 96.2(4) of the Act, to extend the 90 day and 45 day time limits where there are special circumstances surrounding Covid-19. In addition, due to the complexity of the proceedings, there may also be an extension of time on the review itself, with is typically 150 days.
WSBC has currently advised that Employers can defer their Q1 2020 premiums, due in April by three months (June 2020.) This only refers to employers who report payroll and make payments on a quarterly basis, as well as Personal Optional Protection (POP) coverage holders. Confer with Employer Services to ensure accurate balance and clearance is not impacted by deferring payment.
WSBC has advised that they will be granting extensions for 90 days beyond the original expiry date of March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
Prime contractors must adhere to the B.C.'s Public Health Officer directive of: Reducing the number of people on site, social distancing of two metres apart, increasing hand-washing stations. In addition, to ensuring compliance with OHS and WCA Act.
Worker's may refuse to work if they believe it presents an undue hazard, which Employers would then investigate and ensure that corrective action was taken, without delay. Employers can also refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Guideline G3.12.
Limiting worker's exposure to Covid-19 is crucial for Employer's by maintaining distance amongst staff, but also ensuring preventative measures are also in place through proper hand washing techniques and supplying hand sanitizers on site to assist with preventing the spread. If staff are working from home, ensure that there is a policy in place that addresses health and safety for the home office.