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Coronavirus: Lawmakers set to pass workers compensation for frontline staff

It'll make it easier for healthcare workers and first responders to get compensation for COVID-19.

Minnesota lawmakers will look to pass on Tuesday a bill with bipartisan support that makes it easier for the state's frontline workers to get workers compensation if they contract COVID-19.

The bill, which you can read here, would apply to the state's healthcare workers, including home healthcare workers, as well as first responders, police officers, firefighters, and other essential workers.

Workers compensation would see employers – or, more likely, the employers' insurance company – cover any medical, rehabilitation, and wage loss costs that results from any of these workers contracting COVID-19 at work.

The reason it'll be easier for them to qualify compared to other workers is because Minnesota's workers compensation law currently put the onus on an employee to prove that the injury/illness they suffered happened at work.

Under the amended bill, eligible workers would be "presumed" to have contracted coronavirus at work, and the onus would be on the employer or insurer to prove they got it elsewhere.

The following workers would be eligible to claim workers compensation under these circumstances:

  • Peace officers
  • Firefighters
  • Paramedics
  • Nurse or healthcare worker
  • Correctional officer/security counselor at Minnesota Correctional Facilties
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Healthcare provider, nurse, or assistant employed in healthcare, home care, or long-term care setting
  • Worker providing care to children of first responders and healthcare workers'.

A press statement announcing the bill will be discussed was issued by Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and the respective minority leaders of the House and Senate, Rep. Kurt Daudt and Sen. Susan Kent.

"Legislative leaders have agreed to reconvene on Tuesday," it read. "We will be taking up legislation to address workers’ compensation claims for our first responders, police officers, firefighters, and health care workers, including home health care workers, who contract COVID-19."

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