Coronavirus-Related Workers Compensation Bills Introduced
S-2350 (Sweeney / Pou) has been posted for consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee for this Thursday, May 7 2020 at 1:00 p.m. The legislation seeks to supplement the existing “job share” law to provide benefits for employees and savings for employers from the federal financing of UI benefits under the federal “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”
Please note, that the committee hearing will only be held remotely and the State House is closed to the public. Therefore, you cannot attend the committee hearing in person. The Committee will only take testimony on bills by telephone and/or video, limited to three minutes. If you would like to testify orally, you must fill out the SBA Committee Registration Form located here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/HearingRegistration/RegistrationForm.asp
The form must be submitted by 3:00 pm TODAY (5/5/20). You can also submit a “support or oppose” position via the same website.
Also, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO strongly supports bills that have been introduced concerning workers compensation for essential workers that contacted the coronavirus.
S-2380 (Sweeney / Singer / Greenstein) & A-3999 (Giblin / Burzichelli) seeks to change the “burden of proof” for essential workers to adapt to the needs of coronavirus victims during this pandemic. The reform concerns the “burden of proof” requirement in workers compensation for essential employees. Currently, if an essential employee is infected by the virus where they work, they must prove that the infection occurred there. That is almost impossible to do, because no worker knows exactly how or when they were infected. This legislation would create a presumption that, if you are an essential employee and you interact with the public on the job, you contracted the virus while you were working, unless the employer can prove otherwise. The Assembly companion (A-3999) is sponsored by Assemblymen Tom Giblin, D-34th District, and John Burzichelli, D-3rd District.
Also introduced was A-3998 (Murphy / Giblin / Verrelli / Benson) that seeks to prove a COLA for workers’ compensation benefits for surviving dependents of essential employees who die from the virus in the course of employment.
We thank these sponsors for their strong support for workers negatively impacted by the coronavirus. We respectfully urge the Legislature to enact these bills as soon as possible to ensure impacted workers who are on the front lines of fighting this pandemic are properly covered by our workers compensation system.