Frequently asked questions for employers on COVID-19

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A: If a situation meets the criteria listed in the WCB’s policy Injuries – Communicable Disease (POL 02/2010), such as a worker who is at greater risk of contracting the virus than the general public and they lose time from work after contracting the virus, a claim should be submitted.

If the injury occurred on or prior to Dec. 31, 2021 and is accepted as a confirmed work-related COVID-19 claim, you will receive cost relief for costs associated with the claim. Read the WCB’s policy COVID-19 Response – Cost Relief (ADM POL 04/2020).

COVID-19 related injuries occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2022 will not be eligible for cost relief.

A: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCB has taken a number of steps to support Saskatchewan employers and workers through this difficult time, including providing cost relief for COVID-19 workplace injury claims. 

To support employers, the WCB covered all accepted COVID-19 workplace injury claim costs since March 2, 2020.

The decision to provide cost relief for all accepted COVID-19 claims was a temporary support for employers. When the decision was made in 2020, vaccines were not yet approved or available, and many safety measures that exist today were not in place.

Vaccines are now readily available and vaccination or negative testing policies are now in place in many locations.

The cost relief for COVID-19 claims was funded through the WCB’s occupational disease reserve as a temporary measure to support Saskatchewan employers. While the WCB is financially sound and able to absorb the claim costs related to the COVID-19 virus in the short term, the organization is unable to continue this practice in the long term. As such, COVID-19 work-related injuries that occur on or after Jan. 1, 2022 will not be eligible for cost relief.
 

A: Eligible COVID-19 workplace claims will still be covered by the WCB. The WCB’s decision-making process on whether a case of COVID-19 is eligible for compensation will remain the same as it is now.

A worker may be entitled to WCB benefits if there is a confirmed link between the worker’s exposure and their employment, and they contract COVID-19. Based on the WCB’s policy Injuries – Communicable Disease (POL 02/2010), the following conditions must be met:

  • There is confirmed exposure to the disease in the workplace,
  • The time period that the illness is contracted is in close proximity to the confirmed workplace exposure, and
  • The nature of employment creates a greater risk of exposure for the worker than to the general population.

A: Like any other claim, the WCB will adjudicate based on the specific merits of this claim. The WCB will determine whether exposure to the virus arose out of the course of employment and was caused by an employment hazard. If a claim is accepted, coverage will be extended for medical aid and lost wages.

A: Yes. However, as COVID-19 can be transmitted through contact in the community, workplace or home, non-workplace exposures would need to be assessed and ruled out.

A: No. You only need to report time-loss cases to the WCB. If a worker is exposed to the virus, but does not develop any symptoms, you should record the incident for your internal records, but you don’t need to file a claim.

A: No. If there is no illness, there is no claim and therefore no requirement to report to the WCB.

A: If the vaccination was a compulsory requirement or condition of your worker's employment, an allergic reaction to the vaccination may be considered a work-related injury and an injury claim should be submitted.

Examples of situations when it might be considered a compulsory requirement or condition of employment include, but are not limited to:

  • The employer advises the worker that they cannot work unless they have the vaccination.
  • The worker is required to be vaccinated or must provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results that are either employee-funded or obtained outside of work hours, as directed through employer policy, the employer’s human resource guidelines, employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements.
  • It is communicated and/or understood by the worker that refusing a vaccine could result in changes to their hours of work, location work or nature of job duties, and that they will be unable to access available extra shifts or duties.

You would receive cost relief for an acceptable adverse reaction claim where a pre-existing condition has contributed to the injury (that is, the worker had an allergic reaction to the vaccination). Read the WCB’s procedure Communicable Diseases - Adverse Reactions to Immunization (PRO 08/2021) for more information.

A: On July 11, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan removed the public health orders related to COVID-19 and lifted the state of emergency for the province. Employers had two weeks within which to schedule an employee who had been on a temporary layoff back to work or provide pay instead of notice as required by The Employment Standards Regulations.

Effective Aug. 22, 2021, your workers’ eligibility for ongoing compensation benefits will be based on whether the workers continue to have restrictions because of the work injury. Cost relief for return-to-work plans interrupted by the COVID-19 state of emergency will no longer be applied.

Read the WCB’s policy Benefits – Return to Work (RTW) Interrupted (POL 02/2018) for more information.

A: Your employee may receive earnings loss benefits for a period of up to four weeks if their own COVID-19 positive diagnosis delays their recovery. You will receive cost relief of any costs associated with that maximum four-week period. Read the WCB’s policy Suspension of Benefits (POL 10/2021) for more information.

A: The WCB will continue to cover claim costs associated with accepted COVID-19 injury claims that occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2021.

Eligible COVID-19 workplace claims will continue to be covered by the WCB. The WCB’s decision to discontinue cost relief on COVID-19 claims for employers does not affect the WCB’s decision-making process on whether a case of COVID-19 is eligible for compensation.

If a COVID-19 injury claim occurs on or prior to Dec. 31, 2021 and is accepted by the WCB, you will receive cost relief for claim costs.

For COVID-19 work injuries that occur on or after Jan. 1, 2022, employers will not receive cost relief on claim costs.

A: The amount of cost relief granted on claim costs will be credited to your claim cost experience (experience rating) automatically in the year in which cost relief was granted. This credit will adjust the total claim costs in that year and may be used to calculate your experience rating in the future.

The amount of cost relief granted on a claim will not be credited as a refund, but instead will be incorporated into the calculation for your experience rating.

The impact cost relief might have on your premium rate depends on whether you have your firm rate calculated under the Standard Experience Rating Program or Advanced Experience Rating Program.

The Standard Program is based on the number of Time Loss claims within the three-year evaluation window. Under this program, claim costs are not used in the calculation of your experience rate.

The Advanced Program is based on claim costs within the three calendar years prior to the year in which rates are being set. The annual cost of a claim, up to the maximum assessable wage rate, is used in the calculation of your experience rate.

For access to your five-year claim cost reports and premium rate history with the WCB, log into your WCB online account. If you do not have an online account, please sign up by visiting here.

A: The WCB will provide full cost relief for accepted COVID-19 injury related claims with an injury date prior to Dec. 31, 2021. 

If cost relief is applied after costs have been charged, the claim’s costs will initially show on your experience reports, but will be removed (that is, credited). These claims will no longer show up on advanced or standard program experience rate statements. This will benefit your bidding reporting requirements by not impacting your experience.

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COVID-19 and the workplace

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The WCB continues to monitor the impact in Saskatchewan of COVID-19. Our top priority is the health of all our staff, customers and our partners and as such, we follow the guidance of public health officials both provincially and federally on precautionary steps to ensure everyone’s well-being.

Please follow Saskatchewan government guidelines to protect yourself and your family.