Flu season is around the corner, and soon you will be watching out for any signs that could differentiate it from an ordinary cold. Many people miss work because of the flu, and sometimes it can lead to complications and even hospitalization.
If you are worried about what would happen to your job if you would miss work because of it, workers compensation may seem like a plausible option for employees, especially since the vast majority of jobs involve contact with other people.
When Can You Receive Workers Compensation?
First of all, we need to clarify what exactly qualifies for workers compensation. This protective measure is implemented in every state to ensure that employees who suffer injuries or disease because of their workplace will be able to sustain themselves during recovery. Regulations vary from state to state, but the principles of qualifying for workers comp are the same everywhere: one must demonstrate that their injury or illness is caused by conditions at work or by the nature of their job.
There are two conditions that have to be met for a disease or illness to be covered by workers comp:
- It is “occupational”, meaning it arose out of the course and scope of the employment;
- It is caused by conditions “peculiar” to the work.
When it comes to the flu, both tests would be difficult to pass in order to get workers comp. First of all, it is not simple to demonstrate that you have contracted the flu virus while at work, but it is not impossible either. You would have to demonstrate that you didn’t have any symptoms up to a point, you would need to point to the conditions that exposed you to the flu virus. You can see how this is hard information to demonstrate when it comes to the flu, since it can be contracted anywhere there’s a gathering of people.
The second test would be even more difficult to pass. The flu is an ordinary disease that you can get anywhere, it is not a characteristic of a certain workplace or job.
What About Health Workers Who Are More Exposed to Flu?
It is common sense that a health worker is exposed to a wide range of viruses, and the flu is one of the most common of them. This is why employers in the health sector have the obligation to implement a combination of controls to prevent a flu pandemic. Vaccination, giving sick employees free days and limiting the exposure to ill patients are the basic steps an employer must take during flu season.
However, the flu is generally not covered by workers compensation, since it can be transmitted anywhere, not only at the workplace. However, you don’t have to worry about missing work because of it, since any full-time employer generally gets paid medical leave in case he has a contagious airborne disease.
If you have been injured on the job call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann 24/7 at (314) 361-4300 for a FREE consultation.