Minn. legislature passes COVID-19 workers' comp bill for first responders

The bill guarantees that people in high-risk jobs who contract COVID-19 will be eligible for workers' compensation without having to prove the infection was a direct result of their jobs


Grand Rapids Herald Review

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed legislation that provides occupational protections for certain workers who contract COVID-19 on the job.

The bill, co-authored by Senator Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids), specifies that certain frontline workers, including health care workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, corrections officers, and others are eligible for expedited workers' compensation benefits for health issues that may arise due to the coronavirus.

The Minnesota Legislature has unanimously passed legislation that allows first responders and other front-line workers who contract COVID-19 to receive workers' compensation without needing to prove they contracted the virus through their job. (Photo/Jonathunder via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Minnesota Legislature has unanimously passed legislation that allows first responders and other front-line workers who contract COVID-19 to receive workers' compensation without needing to prove they contracted the virus through their job. (Photo/Jonathunder via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

"As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic across our nation, Minnesota has asked our public servants to report to work every day on our behalf to protect lives," said Eichron. "These individuals do this without the slightest hesitation despite the risks involved, and because of these sacrifices, they deserve to know we've got their backs if and when they get sick."

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.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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