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New Jersey COVID presumption bill passes committee

New Jersey capitol

Legislation that would presume that essential workers who acquire COVID-19 did so on the job may soon go before the New Jersey Assembly for a vote.

S.B. 2380 passed the Assembly appropriations committee in a 7-4 vote. The bill, introduced in early May by Democratic Sen. Stephen Sweeney, passed the state Senate in a 27-10 vote May 14 and had been languishing in various Assembly committees.

The legislation would create a rebuttable presumption for essential workers seeking workers compensation for acquiring COVID-19 on the job during a declared state of emergency.

The bill identifies essential workers as public safety workers and emergency responders, health care and residential facility workers, and those who perform jobs in close proximity to the public. Jobs noted in the legislation include public health, safety and welfare; hotel and residential services; transportation; and production, preparation, storage, sale and distribution of essential goods.

The bill stipulates that workers comp claims paid as a result of the rebuttable presumption will not be calculated in an employer’s experience modifier rate or affect premium.

If signed into law, the legislation would take effect immediately and be retroactive to March 9, 2020.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here