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Statement From Illinois Employer Community Regarding Workers’ Compensation Changes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2020

Statement From Illinois Employer Community Regarding Workers’ Compensation Changes

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois employer community has released the following statement regarding an emergency rule adopted Monday by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, which creates an automatic presumption that any essential worker diagnosed with COVID-19 contracted the illness at the workplace, even if they are working remotely or currently not on the job. The following statement should be attributed to the business groups listed below:

“Manufacturers, retailers, grocers, pharmacies, food banks, convenience stores and countless essential businesses across Illinois are doing all they can to protect workers while also meeting unprecedented demand for food, medical supplies, protective equipment and other important services needed during this pandemic. At the same time, many industries are suffering from unprecedented losses and closures including the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry. Yet, this commission chose to suddenly impose a drastic policy change that will significantly increase costs and require employers to pay for medical expenses and salary benefits if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 without proof the illness was contracted at the workplace. Many of these industries are waiting for relief from the federal and state government in an attempt to make payroll and retain workers, but will now be on the hook for additional costs if they’re lucky enough to re-open when the governor’s Stay at Home order is lifted. At a time when the state is discussing how to provide relief for employers trying to maintain jobs, this move runs contrary in every way.”

It should be noted this so-called “emergency rule” was adopted with less than 24 hours’ notice and sets a disturbing precedent because it may violate the Illinois Open Meetings Act while making substantive rule changes outside of the legislative process. Further, the Governor has been providing daily updates on COVID-19 yet this issue has never been discussed as an emergency.

Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association/Illinois Association of Convenience Stores
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
National Federation of Independent Business
Valley Industrial Association

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