Senator Newman, legislature votes for expanded workers’ compensation bill

Today, the Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed legislation that provides occupational protections for certain workers who contract COVID-19 on the job. The bill, House File 4537, specifies that certain frontline workers, including health care workers, police officers, paramedics, corrections officers, and others are eligible for expedited worker’s compensation benefits for health issues that may arise due to the coronavirus.

“This legislation is critical for the law enforcement officers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and many others on the front lines each and every day. If they contract COVID-19 while performing a function of their job, they need to know they will be taken care of,” said Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson). “In an effort to get this done as quickly as possible, we worked with representatives from organized labor and the business community to arrive at an agreement. This reflects our commitment to doing what’s right on behalf of the people we represent.”

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 bill was signed into law on Tuesday evening.

Senator Scott Newman, of Hutchinson, represents McLeod, Meeker, Sibley, and Swift counties in the Minnesota Senate. He serves as chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.