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Minnesota Provides an Extension on Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Certain Workers Who Test Positive for COVID-19

On February 4, 2022, Governor Tim Walz signed House File (H.F.) 1203 into law, which extends the presumption that certain workers working in certain health and public-safety fields contracted COVID-19 at work, if they test positive. The prior presumption had expired on December 31, 2021. This extension applies to COVID-19 illnesses from February 4, 2022, through January 13, 2023. H.F. 1203 is not retroactive, so it does not apply to the period of January 1, 2022, through February 3, 2022.

Covered Workers

The presumption applies to:

  • Licensed peace officers under Stat. § 626.84, Subdivision. 1;
  • Firefighters;
  • Paramedics;
  • Nurses or healthcare workers, correctional officers, or security counselors employed by the state or a political subdivision at corrections, detention, or secure treatment facilities;
  • Emergency medical technicians;
  • Healthcare providers, nurses, or assistive employees employed in healthcare, home care, or long-term care settings, with direct COVID-19 patient care or ancillary work in COVID-19 patient units; and
  • Workers required to provide child care to first responders and healthcare workers under Executive Order 20-02 and Executive Order 20-19.

An employer can rebut the presumption granted to employees only if the employer or the workers’ compensation carrier shows that the individual’s job “was not a direct cause of the disease” and meets the denial requirements under Minn. Stat. § 176.221, Subdivision. 1.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers with eligible employees under this law should review this legislation to ensure that they are maintaining and/or reinstating any contact tracing efforts. Employers should also review and update their workplace illness investigation practices as needed. It is further recommended that employers work with their workers’ compensation carrier to determine any additional measures that should be put in place.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.