While there will be differences due to jurisdictional rules, I’d be surprised if we don’t see Workers Comp cover many health care workers who get the flu.
Health care workers are getting inoculated due to their higher risk, the prevention information you mention indicates they are at risk due to their employment status, and there’s no question of their increased exposure risk.
The Federal government’s website, flu.gov, directs workers who are exposed to flu to contact their state work comp boards for questions on eligibility and coverage – that direction alone may encourage sick workers to file for comp, and if they were exposed at work and the exposure meets specific criteria, they may well have a compensable claim.
In addition, lower paid workers who do not have health insurance may – and I emphasize MAY – be more likely to claim WC for flu as they have no other coverage.
My sense is in many jurisdictions and for many claimants, swine flu would be compensable – if it can be demonstrated that the contact was ‘during the course of or arising out of employment’. And for health care workers, that shouldn’t be too difficult to prove.
Jon Coppelman wrote a good synopsis of this some months ago – here’s an excerpt from his piece:
In order for the flu to be a compensable event under comp, certain requirements must be met:
: the individual must be “in the course and scope of employment” when exposed to the virus
: the exposure must arise out of work (as opposed to being a totally random event)
: work itself must put the individual in harm’s way
My sense is in many jurisdictions and for many claimants working in health care service delivery, swine flu will be compensable – if it can be demonstrated that the contact was ‘during the course of or arising out of employment’. For health care workers, that shouldn’t be too difficult to prove.