On April 1, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Businesses and some public entities across the state have closed their doors for the time being.
Not all workers have stayed home during this time. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, truck drivers, delivery drivers, police, and emergency responders must still go out each day to serve the public and earn a living.
Essential workers face the risk of a COVID-19 infection when coming into contact with the public. According to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and can appear after 2-14 days of incubation.
The symptoms to watch out for include:
- Muscle aches
- Chest pain or tightness
- Shortness of breath
If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important that you notify your employer immediately and contact your doctor.
In addition to COVID-19, many workers are under more pressure than ever to keep up with the current demands. Workers may experience stress, fatigue and burnout. This could lead to:
- Weakened immune system and increased COVID-19 risk
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Accidents with machines and equipment
- Falls from heights or ladders
- Injuries from repetitive movements or lifting
Workers' compensation qualifications during COVID-19
If you contracted COVID-19 or sustained an injury on the job, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits under Pennsylvania law. Any illness contracted on the job is considered an injury or occupational disease, according to pa.gov.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you have 21 days to notify your employer in order to be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. Your coverage from the date of contracting the illness may last for up to 120 days.
Your workers' compensation benefits would pay for two-thirds of your lost wages if you miss more than one week of work. It will also cover any medical expenses accrued from your workplace illness or injury.
There is a seven-day waiting period for workers' compensation payments, but you will not receive your first payment until being out of work for 14 calendar days.
What should I do after reporting my injury or illness to my employer?
Workers' compensation claims can be highly complex. Sometimes proving that an illness or injury is linked to your job can be difficult. Your first course of action after reporting your injury or illness to your employer should be to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
An attorney the Law Offices Of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC can maximize your chances of obtaining benefits and help prevent any delays in payment. To find how, contact us online or call our Philadelphia office at (866) 800-3332.