EC recommends recognising Covid-19 as occupational disease in certain sectors and during a pandemic

The European Commission (EC) said on November 28 that it was recommending that EU countries recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease if contracted by workers in disease prevention, in health and social care, in domiciliary assistance, or – during a pandemic – in other sectors where there is an outbreak and where a risk of infection has been proven.

The EC also emphasised the importance of supporting workers infected by Covid-19 and families who have lost members because of work exposure to the disease.

It aims to strengthen the protection of workers and encourage a consistent approach across the EU, the Commission said.

“It will be for member states to follow up on this recommendation and define the details in national law,” the EC said.

This follows a tripartite agreement reached in May 2022 by member states, workers and employers in the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) on the need to recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease.

The recommendation also contributes to implementing the EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027, which announced this update, the EC said.

The recognition and compensation of occupational diseases is up to individual EU countries.

“While most member states already recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease or accident at work, today’s update aims to further encourage convergence and the recognition of Covid-19 as occupational disease across the EU,” the EC said.

(Archive photo: Bulgarian Armed Forces)

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