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The Tennessee Senate introduced a bill Monday that would make COVID-19 an occupational disease for essential workers under certain conditions.
According to S.B. 8007, a worker who suffers from COVID-19 would be presumed to have contracted the virus in the course of employment if 10 or more employees at the same location have contracted COVID-19 or if the employee is an essential worker, as defined in Gov. Bill Lee’s March 30 executive order. The order lists a number of industries including health care, childcare, and grocery and medical retail, among others.
The bill stipulates that the presumption may be rebutted if the employer or insurer demonstrates “by clear and convincing evidence, that the employee’s contraction of COVID-19 did not arise out of or in the course of the employee’s employment.”
Contraction of COVID-19 must be demonstrated with a positive laboratory diagnostic test; the written diagnosis of a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner; or, in the case of a deceased employee, COVID-19 being listed as the cause of death on the employee’s death certificate, according to the bill.
Lawmakers in Rhode Island on Thursday introduced a bill that would clear the red tape for benefits for workers in several industries presumed to have caught COVID-19 while on the job.