Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic really took a stronghold in the United States, lawmakers in Minnesota added a presumptive benefit in regards to workers’ compensation for individuals who worked on the front lines and had a higher risk of coming into contact with the virus on their shift. This meant that as long as a person worked in a qualified position, the workers’ compensation system would presumptively assume that they had contracted the virus during the scope of their employment, and as such they would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
When that presumptive benefit was put in place, lawmakers set the legislation to expire on May 1, 2021. And while it seems like we’re really starting to round a corner in terms of getting the virus under control as more people get the vaccine, it’s clear that we’re not out of the woods yet. With that in mind, lawmakers are hoping to extend that presumptive benefit another year until May 1, 2022.
Extended Workers’ Compensation Benefits
St. Cloud Representative Dan Wolgamott drafted the legislation that would extend the presumptive benefits for first responders and healthcare workers through May 1 of next year. The original legislation, which went into law last April, made it easier for certain front line workers to collect workers’ compensation if they ended up diagnosed with COVID-19 and were forced to miss work during quarantine. The law also protected the employees from being required to take paid time off or sick leave to make up for lost pay due to their contraction of the coronavirus.
Professions included in the legislation include:
- Police officers
- Correctional officers
- Nurses/Healthcare employees
- Home care providers/Long-term care employees
- Child care workers
A subsequent proposal that sought to add teachers and school officials to the list is currently being discussed, and it would be retroactively applied if it passed.
So while the deadline to file for and collect workers’ compensation if you contract the coronavirus and you work on the front lines is expected to be extended, that doesn’t mean you should wait weeks or months to file. The sooner you file for workers’ compensation, the easier it will be to collect evidence, make a stronger case and meet all the deadlines. We understand how this process can be difficult while you’re working to recover from COVID-19, which is why we’re here to help. Let us handle filing for compensation while you focus on your health.
For more information, or for assistance collecting workers’ compensation after a COVID-19 diagnosis, reach out to the team of injury lawyers at Hey Workers today.