Presumptions: How They Are Impacting Workers’ Compensation as the Grand Bargain


While the workers’ compensation system has been characterized as the “Grand Bargain,” COVID-19 placed a spotlight and renewed interest on compensability presumptions. Historically, such diseases were not considered job-related because of the ability to contract them outside the workplace. However, some legislators have determined that a positive COVID-19 case can be linked to the workplace and is compensable under workers’ compensation. Some argue that broadening workers’ compensation could create a perception that we are entering a new era where the focus is moving towards “socialization of risks.” This session will explore fundamental questions around such issues as evolving expectations, where the line should be drawn between employment and communicable disease, and whether the intentions of workers’ compensation been modified on a permanent basis.

Core Competency #1: PRMS - Public Risk Management Skills

Claims Management

Course Level


Learning Objectives

Objective 1: Discuss the history and evolution of workers’ compensation and how it came to be known as the Grand Bargain
Objective 2: Define compensability presumption and explain how COVID-19 generated renewed interest in the presumption concept
Objective 3 Explain the implications of a broadening definition of workers’ compensation and the concept of socialization of risk


Workers’ Compensation