HB 268 Including COVID-19 To New Mexico Staff’ Compensation Act Heads To Home Ground

HB 268 Co-Sponsor Rep. Christine Chandler

State News:

SANTA FE – Basic workers contracting COVID-19 are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under the new legislation passed by Parliament on Friday.

House Bill 268 will be passed by the State Government, Election and Indian Affairs Committee with a vote of 5 to 3 and will be located next to the House Floor.

Funded by Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Rep. Meredith A. Dixon (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Daymon Ely (D-Corrales) and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, Albuquerque, D, the bill adds a rebuttable presumption to the Workers’ Compensation Act that the contraction of the fatal coronavirus by an essential employee is a work-related injury eligible for compensation provided the worker can demonstrate that their The workplace was not strictly following public health regulations.

“House Bill 268 came about because we heard firsthand from voters who no doubt caught COVID-19 at work but were denied employee benefits,” said Rep. Hochman-Vigil. “Key employees risk their health and safety every day to deliver the services New Mexicans need. Should they become infected at work, they deserve the same protection they would receive from other workplace injuries. ”

“It seems like common sense that companies should take public health regulations seriously when it comes to this deadly virus, but unfortunately it has not always been reported,” said Rep. Chandler. “As well as providing benefits for the sick, HB 268 also promotes regulatory compliance by encouraging employers and employees to follow protocols and even take proactive testing and tracking steps.”

“Until everyone in the state takes this deadly virus seriously, all New Mexicans remain at increased risk,” said Rep. Dixon. “Employees have the right to a safe job and the right to compensation for contracting COVID-19 for ignoring health orders.”

“Even if an employee does everything right, there is a serious risk of contracting COVID-19 if their workplace doesn’t follow the correct protocols,” said Rep. Ely. “HB 268 ensures that those faced with these situations have adequate protection under the Employee Compensation Act.”

“We have heard from many constituents whose employers did not need to wear masks and some who even had to come to work when they had COVID-19 and could infect employees or customers,” said Rep. Roybal Caballero. “HB 268 ensures hardworking New Mexicans who find themselves in such unsafe work environments get the compensation and benefits they deserve when they get sick.”

According to HB 268, employers can refute COVID-19 employee compensation claims by providing evidence that the employee has personally and substantially violated applicable public health regulations. The bill would go into effect immediately upon signature by the governor and stay in effect until January 31, 2023.

Members of the public can follow the legislation on theNew Mexico Legislature website, Access to committee meetings and house floor sessions through theWebcasts tabor attend Zoom to provide public comments on committee hearings. During the 2021 legislative session, the House of Representatives will focus on passing critical laws while protecting the health and safety of the public, staff and lawmakers.

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