Legislation to make it more likely frontline workers would receive workers’ compensation coverage if they contracted COVID-19 during the January surge of Omicron was heard in the Senate Committee on Labor and Industry Policy Wednesday. The legislation, SF 2955, would fill the current gap in presumption coverage between the expiration of this coverage on December 31, 2021, and its renewal on February 7, 2022. Filling this gap is a high priority said Senator Jason Isaacson (DFL- Shoreview).
“At the height of our most recent surge in COVID-19 infections, thousands of Minnesotans continued to put themselves in harm’s way by going into work to deliver essential and critical services,” said Senator Isaacson. “Right now, many of these workers who contracted COVID-19 on the job do not know if they are going to receive the support they need. This legislation will make sure that any gap in coverage is filled, and that we are fulfilling our commitment to these Minnesotans. A nurse should not need to bear the burden of proving they contracted COVID-19 at work to ensure economic security for them and their family- and the other frontline workers included in SF 2955 deserve that too. Our work is not yet finished, but I am determined to ensure we do not leave anyone behind.” While Frontline workers remain eligible for worker’s compensation, they may face increased risk of a claim denial for any illness or injury in the time period where the presumption expired. While there is a current gap in presumption coverage, the Department of Labor and Industry encourages workers to continue to apply for workers compensation if they have contracted COVID-19 in the month of January and early February. The legislation was tabled for further discussions when data on the number of workers denied coverage that would have been covered under the presumption becomes available in early March.