CUPE members in K-12 and early learning are strongly encouraged to file a WorkSafeBC claim, using Form 6, in any and all instances where they have reason to believe they contracted COVID-19 while at work.
Current data provided by WorkSafeBC shows that the number of COVID-19 claims received for the education sector is quite low relative to the health and social services sectors. This suggests that the rate of COVID-19 cases from K-12 workplaces is low or that there is significant under-reporting of COVID-19 illnesses in this sector, or a combination of both.
It is a legislated requirement to report to WorkSafeBC if you have contracted COVID-19 while working. Also, there may be unforeseen long term conditions from COVID-19 that may be compensable, such as post-COVID syndrome. COVID-19 claims may be accepted for health care benefits even if there is no time loss.
Reporting illness or injury
As per the Guide on Filing WCB Claims for COVID-19 the process for reporting an illness or injury (including COVID-19) resulting from your employment is to:
- Report to your employer AND
- Complete and submit a WorkSafeBC Form 6 found at this link or provided by your employer when you report a workplace illness or injury
Members must report COVID-19 illness to their employer and to WorkSafeBC, and it is in their best interests to do so.
Cases of COVID-19 in the education sector are viewed by WorkSafeBC as due to presumptive workplace exposure. This means that cases of COVID-19 reported by K-12 (and early learning) staff have a high likelihood to be presumed as work-related and approved for claim.
Benefits of reporting to WorkSafeBC
On an approved claim, any time loss may be covered by WorkSafeBC rather than impacting a member’s pay or sick bank. Reporting cases of COVID-19 may also protect members from any time loss related to unforeseen subsequent health impacts resulting from the initial COVID-19 illness. Having members file claims and report that a claim has been filed is important information for Joint Health and Safety Committees and health and safety in the workplace.
We will continue to remind WorkSafeBC and other stakeholders that we expect inclusive references to everyone in the education system, rather than simply referencing “teachers”. In the interest of transparency we have asked that WorkSafeBC provide data on the number of CUPE members, teachers, and administrators exposed to COVID-19, as well as the number of claims accepted in each category.
Please follow us @cupek12bc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and view bulletins at https://bcschools.cupe.ca.