The 2020 law making employees in certain professions who contract COVID-19 eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, based on the presumption that they contracted the virus from their work, has been extended.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko) and Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids), the law also includes changes to the state's workers' compensation law recommended by the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council.
The 12-person council, which includes six members representing organized labor and six representing Minnesota businesses, addresses issues and makes recommendations pertaining to workers' compensation.
The presumption statute covers health care workers — including home health care workers — paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, corrections facility officers and counselors, and child care workers providing care for the children of health care workers and first responders.
That presumption was scheduled to sunset May 1, 2021, but under the law, it will not expire until Dec. 31, 2021.
Other provisions in the law:
• increase weekly minimum disability benefits payable for some low-wage employees who cannot work for a period because of a job-related injury beginning Oct. 1, 2021;
• effective Aug. 1, 2021, stiffen penalties against health care providers who bill injured workers for treatment in violation of the law;
• in most cases, bar the issuance of subpoenas to Department of Labor and Industry employees to testify about providing workers' compensation-related assistance; and
• give the department more time to complete first annual report on workers' compensation claims based on data filed in Work Comp CAMPUS, the new online claims portal.