Last week, the Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed legislation that provides occupational protections for certain workers who contract COVID-19 on the job. The bill specifies that certain frontline workers, including health care workers, police officers, paramedics, corrections officers, and others are eligible for expedited workers’ compensation benefits for health issues that may arise due to the coronavirus.
“Minnesotans value the service and dedication of our first responders, especially during times of crises,” said Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks). “It makes sense that our first responders are compensated and cared for through our unemployment system when they need our support.”
The legislation guarantees that people in high-risk jobs who contract COVID-19 while performing their occupational duties are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits with a lower burden of having to prove the infection was a direct result of their job. Those Individuals with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 will be presumed to have an occupational disease, thereby making them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under state law. Most licensed peace officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, health care workers, correction officers, workers at secure state facilities, workers at long-term care facilities, and child care providers are among the classes of workers included in the bill.
The provisions of the bill expire on May 1, 2021.