Coronavirus and workers' compensation
What employers need to know
This section has some important information about coronavirus/COVID-19 as it relates to workers' compensation and the workplace.
For more general information about coronavirus in Oregon, visit this COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians page.
Have safety and health questions? Visit SAIF's resource page for coronavirus safety and health.
Policy and payroll
The impact of telecommuting on workers' compensation for your employees depends on their class codes and the employees' duties. If the employee is normally a clerical employee at the employer's location (8810), they would have the same class code when performing clerical duties at a home office.
If the employee is not normally a clerical employee, but they are going to temporarily work from home in a clerical capacity, you would be able to apply some wages to a clerical class code if the employee maintains verifiable time records. If they are performing work other than clerical duties, it would be unlikely that a different class code would apply. If you have a specific situation and want guidance, please contact SAIF or your agent.
Finally, while there isn't extensive case law in Oregon relating to injuries occurring while telecommuting, the guidance we do have indicates injuries sustained while working at home are treated much the same as injuries occurring at work. Please contact SAIF if you have questions.
An industry notice published Nov. 12, 2020 by the Workers' Compensation Division (WCD) informs workers in Oregon that they have the right to file for workers' compensation for COVID-19.
The notice says "workers who have been quarantined or isolated due to a workplace exposure or have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace may be entitled to have their lost wages and medical expenses covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance." Also included is a list of rules for COVID-19-related workers' comp issues, including that employers may not prevent a worker from reporting or filing a claim for any on-the-job injury, exposure, or illness, and they must provide an 801 form if a worker requests it.
If the employer shuts down the company or suggests that employees be tested, that does not necessarily mean claims should be filed or that interim time loss or diagnostic testing will be paid. If a medical provider or public health authority recommends testing or quarantine for a specific individual and ties that recommendation to a confirmed or suspected work exposure, then a claim should be filed.
We're here to help.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to your SAIF contacts or call our general number at 800.285.8525 for more information.