On March 30, 2020, Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, instructed Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, to issue the following Directive to the Division of Risk Management regarding “Workers’ Compensation claims submitted by Frontline State Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, through a reliable method, as compensable claims for occupational disease pursuant to section 112.1815, Florida Statues, and Chapter 440, Florida Statutes, unless the State of Florida can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a Frontline State Employee contracted COVID-19 outside his or her scope of employment as a state employee.”

Frontline State Employees” are defined as follows for the purposes of this Directive”:

  1. Law enforcement officers;
  2. Firefighters;
  3. Emergency Medical Technicians;
  4. Paramedics;
  5. Correction officers;
  6. Employees who are physically required to work in a state-operated detention facility;
  7. State employees who work in the healthcare field who are required to work with persons being tested for COVID-19 or who think they might be infected with COVID-19;
  8. Child safety investigators who are required to conduct welfare checks on minors;
  9. Members of the National Guard called up for active duty of service in the State of Florida in response to COVID-19.

The Directive goes onto instruct the Division of Risk Management to process claims for frontline

state employees without regard to whether any other non-compensable factor may have contributed to the employee contracting COVID-19 and they cannot reduce compensation because of any potential causative factors.

What does this mean for you as a Frontline State Employee in the State of Florida?  It means that you do not have the extremely high burden of establishing your positive diagnosis of COVID-19 was due to an occupational exposure at work.  We discuss this burden for non-state of Florida employees in another blog.

So the State of Florida has made it easier for you as a Frontline State Worker to obtain workers’ compensation benefits under Chapter 440, Florida Statutes.  However, this is a rebuttable presumption which means if they can conclusively prove the employee contracted COVID-19 outside of work, then it may not be covered as a compensable claim.

You can read a copy of the Governor’s Executive Order, 2020-05 by clicking on this link.  https://www.myfloridacfo.com/coronavirus/documents/CFO-Directive-20-05.pdf.

We are continuing to monitor this situation daily.

If you have any questions or concerns about entitlement to workers’ compensation in Florida, please feel free to call us at 833-LAW-STONE for a FREE PHONE CONSULTATION.