Information for employers
During the COVID-19 situation, we will do our best to help when someone suffers a work-related injury or disease. We know this is a challenging time, so we want to assist employers with their responsibilities during the claims and return-to-work process, and what to do if one of your workers has a work-related case of COVID-19.
Your workers with an existing claim
Our online tools are available to monitor a worker’s claim status, view correspondence about the claim, and submit claims information. You can also view your company's monthly claims costs and access a variety of online services.
Reporting a new claim
Employers can continue to report a workplace injury or disease during this time, and can do so online or by phone. We will continue to register, adjudicate, and make payments on new time-loss claims.
If an employee had a work-related exposure to COVID-19, please refer to our COVID-19 claims FAQs below, which includes information on when you should report an illness to WorkSafeBC.
If you are reporting a claim for a worker for a COVID-19 virus infection contracted through a work-related exposure, you can file a report as you would with any other workplace injury or disease. See How employers report a workplace injury or disease.
We are preparing contingency plans to ensure we can continue to deliver essential services to workers and employers if the situation escalates, while supporting the direction of public health agencies to slow the progression of COVID-19 through remote work and social and physical distancing practices.
Employers can use our online services to manage claims. If you still have questions after viewing your employee’s claim online, please call your claims officer. Your officer will return your call as soon as possible.
Employers can also call our Claims Call Centre at 1.888.967.5377 for assistance.
Submitting and managing reviews
If you disagree with a decision made by WorkSafeBC on a claim, assessment, or health and safety enforcement matter, you can request a review of the decision from the Review Division. We are continuing to receive requests for review and are completing as many decisions as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about Submitting and managing reviews during the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 claims FAQs
The following FAQs will help you determine what should be reported.
When could COVID-19 be work related?
When a worker contracts COVID-19 as a direct result of their employment, they are entitled to compensation if the following conditions are met:
- Evidence that the worker has contracted COVID-19, either:
- a medical diagnosis in a medical report, or
- non-medical factual evidence where other evidence establishes the existence of COVID-19.
- The nature of the worker’s employment created a risk of contracting the disease significantly greater than the ordinary exposure risk of the public at large.
A work-related example would be an acute care hospital worker, who is treating patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In these cases, they are at greater risk than the general public of contracting the disease.
Claims submitted for COVID-19 contracted through a work-related exposure are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. WorkSafeBC will look at details such as whether the worker has a diagnosis of COVID-19, their symptoms, and their employment activities.
If you believe your employee contracted COVID-19 while at work, you should file a Form 7 to determine if the employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
When do I report a case of COVID-19 to WorkSafeBC?
Report it if it meets the specific criteria. As shown in the examples, if your employees are at significantly greater risk than the general public of contracting the virus while at work, and the employee loses time from work after contracting the virus, report the claim to WorkSafeBC.
However, if your employees are not at greater risk than the general public of contracting the infection, you do not need to file a report unless WorkSafeBC requests a report.
Does WorkSafeBC cover people for a quarantine or self-isolation period?
No. WorkSafeBC does not provide coverage for people who, on a precautionary basis, are quarantined, self-isolating or sent home.
Return-to-work planning during COVID-19
I have employees performing modified duties or a graduated return-to-work. What happens if the worksite shuts down due to COVID-19?
If a worker remains unable to perform their full pre-injury employment and the employer is not paying the worker during the shutdown, WorkSafeBC will resume wage-loss benefits to the worker. Inform your claims officer when worksite operations are scheduled to resume.
What happens if I have modified duties available and the worker is not able to attend work due to a quarantine or self-isolation?
If an injured worker is in quarantine/self-isolation due to COVID-19, the worker is at risk of endangering the health/safety of others by exposing them to the virus. This means the modified return to work offer is not considered suitable and WorkSafeBC would pay total wage-loss benefits until the worker no longer requires quarantine/self-isolation and can participate in the modified RTW. Consideration is being given to whether and how relief of costs may be applied for the period so as to avoid unfairness to the employer.
What happens if a worker is recovered from their compensable injury but no work is available due to COVID-19?
Claims officers will continue to gather and evaluate evidence related to a worker’s recovery. If the evidence supports a worker has recovered from the compensable condition, their entitlement to wage-loss benefits ends.
What happens if a worker is recovered from their compensable injury but is not able to attend work due to a quarantine or self-isolation?
A worker’s entitlement to wage-loss benefits ceases when the evidence supports the worker has recovered from the compensable condition. If a worker recovers from their compensable injury but remains off work due to a quarantine or self-isolation, they are not entitled to receive wage-loss benefits during the quarantine/self-isolation.
Is WorkSafeBC considering providing relief of costs to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, owing to the inability of workers to seek treatment?
We are investigating whether existing policy provides for pandemic-related relief of costs. We are also exploring whether new policy should be developed to address relief of costs during a pandemic. Further guidance will be provided if we begin work on a new policy.