Virginia lawmakers advance payments that might require compensation for first responders contaminated with COVID-19 | Information

Virginia lawmakers have passed laws that allow certain first aiders to claim workers’ compensation if they are hampered by COVID-19. However, they still have to agree on some details.

The measures would make COVID-19 an occupational disease for firefighters, rescue workers, and law enforcement or correctional officers. These persons would be entitled to employee compensation benefits.

The relatives of the employees would also be entitled to benefits if the employees died of COVID-19. Occupational diseases are those that arise out of and in the course of employment under national law and include hepatitis, meningococcal meningitis, tuberculosis or HIV.

The main difference between the bills is that the house bill would extend compensation to regional prison officials. The Senate also opposed an amendment to the House that provides compensation for cases that date back to March 2020. The bills apply to individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 on or after July 1 and whose death or disability due to COVID-19 occurred on or after July 1 after the same date, Del. Kaye Kory, said D-Falls Church in an email. She is the patroness of the Senate Act.

Employees and their dependents must meet certain requirements in order to be entitled to employee compensation. The bill states that the COVID-19 virus must be detected by a positive diagnostic test along with an incubation period consistent with COVID-19 and symptoms of COVID-19 that require medical treatment.

The bill would add COVID-19 to work-related illnesses that would prevent certain first responders or corrective officers from working and cause them to lose their income, Kory said.

“During this time of the pandemic emergency, our first responders are likely to be exposed to coronavirus in the workplace and should be protected if exposed to this dangerous virus,” Kory said in a statement. “I believe it is fair and equitable to add this condition of eligibility to the other work-related disability conditions in our code.”

According to a Senate Finance and Funding Committee held in early February, implementing Senate legislation would cost an estimated $ 2.5-3.3 million. The house bill would cost significantly more if it allowed compensation for cases through March 2020.

Some objections to Jones’ bill were raised during a January subcommittee meeting. Jeremy Bennett, The director of interstate affairs for the Virginia Association of Counties, which aims to represent the counties’ interests in the state, called on lawmakers to vote against the House bill. He said local governments and risk insurers have not budgeted any additional payments that the new law would require. The bill should only be approved if the state provides additional funding to local governments, he said.

Legislators approved a conference committee Friday to resolve legal disagreements.

Comments are closed.