ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Tuesday approved legislation ensuring first responders receive their full workers’ compensation benefits and coverage in the event they test positive for COVID-19.
The move addresses concerns that damages suffered from the virus would not be covered by the state’s current no-fault workers’ compensation system, a form of insurance that provides salary replacement and medical benefits for workers injured in the course of their jobs.
“This bill fits within the spirit of workers’ compensation law and provides further clarity to make sure front-line workers are covered,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. “This will provide a sense of security for our front-line workers and also heads off potential litigation to ensure our system operates effectively and efficiently. The people who are going above and beyond to help us fight this crisis deserve to be protected and this bill is a good step in making that happen.”
The bill represents a compromise agreement made by legislators from all four House and Senate caucuses, and advocates from labor and business groups. The agreement was approved unanimously in an emergency meeting of the Workers Compensation Advisory Council on April 6.
The bill features a sunset date of May 1, 2021. Other main components include:
The Senate also was expected to also pass the bill Tuesday, putting it in the hands of Gov. Tim Walz for enactment. The Legislature is scheduled to convene again on April 14.