COVID-19 Tests and High-Risk Employment Designation

With the availability of numerous types of COVID-19 tests, it is important to know the Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP), is only accepting laboratory tests, such as but not limited to, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), and antigen tests.

However, if employees submit antigen test results, DOL requires a copy of the laboratory test results, not just the letter from the provider stating the results were positive. Antibody tests may also be submitted, but this route requires additional medical evidence to address work-relatedness, diagnosis, and treatment due to the intricacies involved in this process.

Regardless of testing choice, make sure you specifically ask for the laboratory results, as required by DOL. If employees only submit test results (without the lab results), they will likely get a letter from DOL telling them they must submit the lab results or the claim will not be approved.

DOL acknowledges that it is difficult to determine the precise moment and method of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) transmission. Therefore, federal employees deemed to be engaged in "high-risk employment" are not burdened with identifying the exact day or time they contracted COVID-19.

Uniformed employees within our bargaining unit have been designated "high-risk employment" by the agency for OWCP purposes, which means OWCP will accept that the exposure was proximately caused by the nature of employment. If the employee files the CA-1 within 30 days, and the employer supports the claim/that the exposure occurred, the employee is eligible to receive continuation of pay for up to 45 days. High-risk employees are eligible to have COVID-19 testing paid by OWCP or have it reimbursed.

Contact a union rep if you have any questions or need help with the process.

For further information, read through the below resources.

OWCP FECA COVID-19 resource page

FECA Bulletin No. 21-01, Issue Date: October 21, 2020

FECA Bulletin No. 20-05, Issue Date: March 31, 2020

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