NEWS / Legal News - April 2020

New Workers' Compensation Law extends occupational disease coverage to certain employees who contract COVID-19

H.F. No. 4537

Effective April 8, 2020, a new workers' compensation law states that certain employees who contract COVID-19 are presumed to have an occupational disease covered by Minnesota workers' compensation law.  A link to the new statute can be found here.

In summary, occupational disease coverage is extended to certain employees who contract COVID-19, if certain requirements are met, which are summarized below.

Covered Employee

  • A licensed peace officer under Minnesota Statute Section 626.84 Subd. 1, firefighter, paramedic or emergency medical technician;
  • A nurse or healthcare worker, correctional officer or security counselor employed by the state or political subdivision at a correction, detention or secure treatment facility; 
  • A healthcare provider, nurse or assistive employee employed in healthcare, home care or long-term care, with direct COVID-19 or ancillary work in a COVID-19 patient unit; or
  • A person required to provide child care to first responders and healthcare workers under Gov. Walz's Executive Order.


  • COVID-19 must be confirmed by a positive laboratory test, or if the test was not available, the employee's symptoms must be diagnosed by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner
  • A copy of the test must be given to the employer or the employer's workers' compensation insurer

What this means
If the employee is a covered employee and meets the testing requirements, it is presumed to be a work-related occupational disease.  The employer can rebut the presumption that the contraction of COVID-19 is an occupational disease only by showing the employee's employment was not a direct cause of the disease.  The statute directs the date of injury to be the date the employee was unable to work due to the contraction of COVID-19 or was unable to work due to symptoms that were later diagnosed as COVID-19, whichever occurs first.  The statute does not prohibit and employee who does not meet the requirements of the new statute from bringing a claim as an occupational disease claim under Minnesota Statute Section 176.011, subdivision 15 or claiming a workers' compensation injury under subdivision 16. 

This content is not legal advice and prior to taking any action based on the information contained herein, you should seek advice of legal counsel.  Please feel free to contact our office with any questions.