New WCRI Research Analyzes Early Influence of COVID-19 on Staff’ Compensation Claims

New WCRI study analyzes early effects of COVID-19 on workers? Claims for damages

  • 1/15/21

Cambridge, MA ( – A new study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) looks at how the massive slowdown in economic activity at the start of the pandemic affected workers’ compensation and the extent to which COVID-19 claims are in the EU have arisen system of employee compensation.

The study, “The Early Impact of COVID-19 on the Composition of Workers Compensation Claims” analyzed paid entitlements for private sector workers and local public employees in 27 states by comparing the first two quarters of 2020 and 2019.

“This report will shed some bright spots on the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers ‘compensation and help policymakers and stakeholders track changes in key dimensions of the COVID-19 impact on workers’ compensation,” said John Ruser, president and CEO of WCRI.

The following are among the key findings of the study:

  • The percentage of COVID-19 claims among all employee compensation claims in the study states varied widely, ranging from 1 percent in Kansas and South Carolina to 34 percent in New Jersey and 42 percent in Massachusetts in the second quarter of 2020. A number of factors may contribute to the Variation, including the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, presumption laws, and compensation rules.
  • In the first quarter of 2020, we observed a decrease in the number of non-COVID-19 applications in all states in the first quarter of 2019 compared to Q1 2019, ranging from a 2 percent decrease in Arkansas to a 20 percent decrease in Connecticut. Compared to Q2 2020 to Q2 2019, the decrease in the volume of claims for damages from non-COVID-19 workers was even greater, decreasing by at least 30 percent in the vast majority of states and up to 50 percent in Massachusetts .
  • For sick leave entitlements greater than seven working days (including COVID-19 sick leave entitlements), we found even greater variation in changes in employee compensation entitlement, with some states increasing and some decreasing the number of lost work entitlements. For the second quarter, the change in the number of claims for damages from 2019 to 2020 varied from a 27 percent decrease in Nevada to a 63 percent increase in Massachusetts.
  • We found a significant concentration of COVID-19 claims among workers in the service industry (85 percent in Q2 2020), particularly in assisted living facilities, hospitals, and doctor and dentist offices.
  • Overall, there have been huge differences in the impact of the pandemic on different industries due to lockdowns, massive economic slowdown and remote working. Compared to 2020Q2 and 2019Q2, the largest decrease in the number of non-COVID-19 employee compensation claims for salaried and professional employees was 57 percent. The smallest decrease was 25 percent for construction workers.

This study covers claims with injury data in the first two quarters of 2019 and 2020, with payments for medical or income benefits in 27 states in the first two quarters of each year. These states? What is 68 percent of employee compensation benefits paid in the United States? are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee , Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The authors of this study are Dr. Olesya Fomenko and Dr. John Ruser. To learn more about this study or to download a copy, visit


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