EU-Commission recommends recognising COVID-19 as occupational disease in certain sectors and during a pandemic
The European Commission has adopted an updated Recommendation on occupational diseases following 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. EU-OSHA has supported discussions by providing background information on the recognition of Covid-19 as occupational disease or accident.
With it, the Commission recommends that Member States 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 Commission also stresses 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. It will be for Member States to follow up on this Recommendation and define the details in national law.
The recognition and compensation of occupational diseases is a national competence. While most Member States already recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease or accident at work, the update aims to further encourage convergence and the recognition of COVID-19 as occupational disease across the EU.