Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 28/11/2022

Commission recommends recognising COVID-19 as occupational disease in certain sectors and during a pandemic

Today, the Commission adopted an updated Recommendation on occupational diseases.

Nurses working at the drive-through COVID-19 vaccination centre

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.

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 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, today’s update aims to further encourage convergence and the recognition of COVID-19 as occupational disease across the EU.

More information is available in the updated Recommendation and a press release on the tripartite agreement.

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