State practice to address COVID-19 infection as a work-related injury

GEIP is collecting the growing State practice in relation to COVID-19 infection as a work-related injury. This work will be updated regularly.

Infection by COVID-19, if contracted as a result of work, could be considered as a work or employment injury. Such injuries, under the scope of the Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964 (No.121) and the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No.102), include industrial accidents and occupational diseases. Workers who are infected by COVID-19 as a result of their work should be entitled to health care and, to the extent that they are incapacitated for work, to cash benefits or compensation, as set out in the Conventions No.102 and 121. The dependent family members (e.g. spouses and children) of those who die from COVID-19 contracted in the course of work-related activities should be entitled to cash benefits or compensation, as well as to a funeral grant or benefit.

This up-dated examination of the national practices reveals that authorities in a number of countries have continued to consider infection by COVID-19 as a work-related injury. The vast majority of authorities have expressly recognized that it could be considered as an occupational disease. Certain have established rebuttable presumption in this regard for certain categories of workers, such as health workers and first responders who are particularly exposed. In a smaller number of countries, the authorities have stated that infection by COVID-19 contracted at work would be treated as a work-related accident. Some countries have issued administrative guidance to facilitate the qualification of COVID-19 infections at the workplace, without considering that any modification in their legislation was required at this stage.

The information used in this collection of practice comes from a number of sources. The ILO is interested to extend its collection to information related to the measures’ implementation. Do not hesitate to send us any relevant information at This work was possible thanks to the support of the Master’s Degree in Applied International Law and International Politics of the Faculty of Law of the University of Sherbrooke (Canada).