Commission recognises COVID as occupational disease after EPSU campaign

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(20 December 2022) The European Commission has officially issued a recommendation to recognise COVID as an occupational disease. The move follows over two years of work from EPSU and its affiliates to ensure greater protection for the workers who fought – and continue to fight – the worst pandemic in living memory.

The Commission now recommends that Member States recognise COVID as an occupational disease if contracted by workers in disease protection, health or care (including home care). Workers infected by COVID or who have lost family members due to workplace exposures to COVID should also receive additional supports.

The official recommendation follows a tripartite agreement reached in May 2022 by Member States, workers – led by EPSU and ETUI - and employers in the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) on the need to recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease. This was a historic achievement for the protection of health and social workers and a crucial step forward in promoting the prevention, recognition, and compensation of occupational diseases.

EPSU welcomes the conclusion of a successful campaign. While most Member States already recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease, the recommendation will encourage convergence and the recognition of COVID-19 as occupational disease across the EU.

EPSU thanks the affiliates and other stakeholders who contributed to this achievement and will continue to work for the health and safety of workers across Europe.