The following statement can be attributed to HPAE President Debbie White, RN
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers who were exposed, infected and sickened by the virus faced an additional worry: whether they would qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Our state legislators and the governor have taken this concern seriously and risen to the challenge with the passage of a new law.
This new law shifts the “burden of proof” from the employee to the employer in workers’ compensation claims for essential workers who interact with the general public and contract COVID-19 during the declared state of emergency. The “presumption” of infection at the workplace is rebuttable by the employer or the insurance company if evidence exists that the worker contracted the virus outside the course of their employment. But ultimately the “burden of proof” would be on the employer.
Frontline healthcare workers have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their health and their lives at healthcare facilities across New Jersey to care for COVID-19 patients. It is important that these essential and heroic workers do not have to fight employers to prove they contracted COVID-19 at their workplaces.
On behalf of our members, HPAE thanks Gov. Phil Murphy for signing the law and sponsors of S-2380/A-3999 for fighting to pass it: New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney and State Senators Linda Greenstein, Nicholas Scutari and Robert Singer, and State Assembly Members Joann Downey, Thomas Giblin, John Burzichelli and Carol Murphy. The Essential Workers of HPAE are grateful for your efforts.
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556