Friends and neighbors,
Earlier this week, the Senate passed an important compromise for workers on the front lines of the coronavirus battle. I was honored to co-sponsor this critical legislation.
Over the last few days and weeks, we have heard from numerous health care workers, police and corrections officers, firefighters, and other medical and public safety professionals who are at an elevated risk of contracting the virus due to their job duties. If infected, they would have to jump through several hoops to become eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
In the middle of a public health crisis those workers have enough to worry about. This legislation streamlines the process for them to collect workers’ compensation if they are waylaid by COVID-19. The legislation we approved this week says that workers in certain job classifications are presumed to have an occupational disease if they contract COVID-19, thereby automatically making them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Emergency responders and medical staff are on the front line and have a high risk of being infected on the job. These workers are risking their lives day in, day out to make sure the rest of us are safe and healthy. I am glad we were able to give them the peace of mind of knowing that if they happen to get sick, signing up for their workers’ comp benefits will be relatively stress-free.
Most important: this simpler and cleaner process was the result of a compromise between labor officials and business owners. Everybody came to the table to reach an agreement that works for all involved, which is the way government is supposed to function.
If you are curious, the legislation covers the following workers:
- Licensed peace officers
- Healthcare workers
- Corrections officers and security counselors employed by the state or a political subdivision at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment facility
- Emergency medical technicians
- Healthcare providers, nurses, and assistive employees in a health care, home care, or long-term care setting
- Workers who are required to provide childcare to first responders and health care workers under the governor’s previous executive orders.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office any time at Sen.Warren.Limmer@Senate.mn.