Information for employers
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are here to help when someone sustains a work-related injury or disease. We know this continues to be a challenging time, so we want to assist employers with information about your 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 should continue to report a workplace injury or disease during this time, and can do so online or by phone. We continue to register, adjudicate, and make payments on new time-loss claims.
If a worker 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 a worker has an adverse reaction to a work-related COVID-19 vaccination, please see COVID-19 vaccination and the workplace for information to help you determine if a claim should be reported.
If you are reporting a claim for a worker for a COVID-19 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.
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.
Employers can also reach out to the Employers’ Advisers Office at 1.800.925.2233 for additional assistance and guidance with respect to COVID-19 questions.
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.
Does a presumption for COVID-19 claims still exist?
Yes, the provincial health officer’s Notice Declaring COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is still in effect. As a result, a presumption that a claim for COVID-19 is work-related will still apply if there is evidence to establish that a worker has COVID-19 and the risk in the workplace was significantly greater than the ordinary exposure risk, unless there is evidence to rebut that presumption.
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:
- There is evidence that the worker has contracted COVID-19. This is typically either:
- a medical diagnosis,
- a positive COVID-19 test, or
- other evidence that supports the worker has contacted 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. This may be the case where the nature of the worker’s job places the worker:
- at a higher risk of coming into contact with individuals who may be COVID-19 positive, or
- at regular, close interactions with the public in a manner that places the worker at risk of exposure to COVID-19 droplets (including aerosols), particularly in indoor spaces.
|Work-related examples||Acute care hospital worker, who is treating patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
A worker who is staying at employer provided accommodations that are shared with other workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
A care aide in a long-term care facility, who is treating residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
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. A presumption in favour of an accepted claim may apply if there is evidence to establish that a worker has COVID-19 and the risk in the workplace was significantly greater than the ordinary exposure risk.
When do I report a case of COVID-19 to WorkSafeBC?
As shown in the above examples, if your employees are at significantly greater risk than the general public of contracting the virus while at work, and an employee loses time from work after contracting the virus, you must report the claim to WorkSafeBC. If in doubt or the employee or WorkSafeBC asks you to, you must submit a report immediately.
Would catching seasonal influenza be work-related?
Seasonal influenza is not the subject of a public health order and generally affects the community at large. The disease can be spread where people meet including but not limited to: workplaces, homes, schools, places of worship, social events, and sporting events. As this disease is common in the public at large, in general, the seasonal influenza would be viewed as a public health issue, not a disease due to the nature of any particular employment and therefore, not compensable. Claims submitted for seasonal influenza contracted through a work-related exposure are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
Does WorkSafeBC cover people for a quarantine or self-isolation period?
No. WorkSafeBC does not provide coverage for people who have not contracted COVID-19, but who, on a precautionary basis, are quarantined, self-isolating or sent home. A report is not required in these instances.
Return-to-work planning during COVID-19
I have employees performing modified duties or a graduated return-to-work. What happens if the worksite temporarily or permanently closes 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 closure, 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 or self-isolation due to COVID-19, the worker is at risk of endangering the health and 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 or self-isolation and can participate in modified return to work. Consideration will be given to whether and how relief of costs may be applied for the period 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 or self-isolation.
Is WorkSafeBC considering providing relief of costs to employers during the COVID-19 pandemic?
While existing policy does not provide for relief of costs for claims where COVID-19 has been accepted as a compensable occupational disease (direct COVID-19 claims costs), WorkSafeBC excluded these costs in the calculation of the expected new injury costs for 2022 and experience rating for employers. However, for employers who incurred direct COVID-19 claims costs in 2020, these costs have been reflected in their rate group balance, and amortized over a period of five years, as adjustments to the rate groups’ future premium rates. This approach taken by WorkSafeBC recognizes the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these employers.
Delay costs that may be associated with COVID-19 (e.g., additional claims costs incurred due to delayed access to health care treatment) are not being considered for exclusion primarily because there is no existing policy mechanism for doing so but also because of the obvious complexities and costs associated with making such determinations on a case-by-case basis. No new policy is being developed to exclude these costs.