Wyoming Legislature to Address COVID-19 Claims under Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Act

On Friday, May 15, 2020, the Wyoming Legislature will open a special session to address the use of Federal funds provided under the CARES Act.  The Wyoming Legislature will also consider House Bill No. HB1002, which proposes changes to the Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Act (“the Act”) to allow for the compensability of worker’s compensation claims for COVID-19.

Typically, communicable diseases are not compensable under Wyoming Worker’s Compensation unless the nature of the employment increases the risk of contracting the disease.  HB1002 provides that for the period of January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, COVID-19 and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 shall be considered an injury under the Act and “the nature of all employment for which coverage is provided by this act shall be presumed to increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.”  The bill further provides that no injury related to COVID-19 shall be chargeable to an employer’s experience rating.  Consequently, while the bill opens the door for COVID-19 claims, the claims will not impact an employer’s worker’s compensation premiums.

The proposed bill can be found at: https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2020/HB1002?specialSessionValue=1

Rob Jarosh
Billie Addleman
Hirst Applegate, LLP

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