SAINT PAUL, MN – Tuesday, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed legislation delivering workers’ compensation benefits to health care and public safety workers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty. In particular, the legislation provides a presumption that if these workers contract COVID, they did so during their employment and are covered by workers’ compensation.
Rep. Sydney Jordan (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Minneapolis) released the following statements:
“We depend on our front-line workers to be there for us during our time of crisis,” said Rep. Jordan. “It was important for the legislature to make sure these workers can receive the help they deserve, should they contract COVID-19. I enthusiastically supported this bill to assist in protecting the economic safety of those who rush in and help when we need it most.”
“I joined my legislative colleagues to overwhelmingly support this important legislation.” said Rep. Noor. “It is vitally important to ensure the economic security of our brave first responders and by making workers’ compensation available to them, this will hopefully relieve some stress, if only to make certain their families are protected if the responders become ill during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
An agreement on the legislation was reached by legislative leaders in both the Minnesota House and Senate, as well as Governor Walz. The Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council provided preliminary approval of the measure on Monday.
Governor Walz has signed the bill into law.
Occupations covered by the presumption in the bill include firefighters, peace officers, paramedics, EMTs, health care workers, correctional officers, and childcare providers who are caring for children of first responders and health care workers under the Governor’s executive orders.
In compliance with recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, most legislators voted remotely on the legislation.