Monday, September 14, 2020
“Governor Murphy has done a very good job in handling the pandemic in New Jersey under very difficult circumstances, said Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “Signing this bill into law is another example of his leadership in the fight against COVID-19.
“Frontline essential workers who were required to come in and work during the stay-at-home order and continue to perform services that put themselves and their families at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 at their jobs deserve the benefits of workers compensation and peace of mind this law provides,” Wowkanech said.
S-2380/A-3999 is sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, Sens. Nick Scutari, D-20th District, Robert Singer, R-30th District, and Linda Greenstein, D-14th District, and by Assemblymen Thomas Giblin, D-34th District, and John Burzichelli, D-3rd District, and Assemblywomen Carol Murphy, D-7th District, and Joann Downey, D-11th District. President Wowkanech commends the prime sponsors and thanks them for their leadership on this important worker health issue.
Essential employees’ workers compensation claims are routinely rejected by their employers because the employees can’t prove they contracted COVID-19 at their place of work.
The law shifts the “burden of proof” from the employee to the employer in workers compensation claims for essential workers who interact with the general public and contract COVID-19 during the declared state of emergency. The “presumption” of infection at the workplace is rebuttable by the employer or the insurance company if evidence exists that the worker contracted the virus outside the course of their employment.
The law does not cover workers who work from home or who do not interact with the general public. The law covers only essential workers during a declared state of emergency.