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Rep. Wolgamott’s legislation extending Pandemic Workers’ Compensation for Public Safety and Health Care Workers advances through committee

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

St. Paul, MN - Today, the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony on legislation to extend the workers’ compensation benefits afforded to public safety and health care workers who are either sickened or quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19. The bill, HF 1203, is authored by State Representative Dan Wolgamott (DFL - St. Cloud), and builds upon his legislation passed into law last April.

The bill advanced through committee with unanimous support, referring it to the General Register. 


“Fire fighters, police officers, nurses, childcare providers and other first responders continue to serve on the front lines in this battle against the pandemic,” said Rep. Wolgamott. “While many of these workers have been vaccinated, they are by no means out of the woods. These workers continue to contract the virus and would find it impossible to prove where exactly they were exposed if we do not extend this presumption. We need to have the backs of Minnesota’s frontline workers and extend the COVID-19 workers’ compensation presumption.”

The law provides a presumption that if public safety or health care workers contract COVID-19, they did so during the course of their employment and are covered by workers’ compensation. Their own sick leave or personal time off benefits would not be used to make up for lost pay. The law was originally set to expire on May 1, 2021. This legislation would extend the law by one year to May 1, 2022.

Impacted professions include:

  • Firefighters
  • Peace and Police officers
  • Paramedics
  • EMTs
  • Health care providers, nurses or assistive employees in a health care, home care or long-term care setting who work with COVID-19 patients
  • Nurses, health care workers, correctional officers or security counselors at correctional facilities
  • Child care providers who are required to provide child care for the children of first responders and health care workers under the Governor’s Executive Orders

 

Additional information, including supporting materials from testifiers, is available on the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee’s webpage. Video recording of today’s hearing will be available on the House Public Information YouTube channel