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New Jersey legislature passes COVID presumption bill

Posted On: Jul. 31, 2020 11:31 AM CST

New Jersey capitol

New Jersey may become the next state to enact a law presuming that essential workers who acquire COVID-19 did so on the job.

Lawmakers in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate on Thursday passed S.B. 2380 with a 42-27 vote in the Assembly and a 27-12 vote in the Senate. The bill, introduced in early May by Democratic Sen. Stephen Sweeney, would create a rebuttable presumption for essential workers seeking workers compensation for acquiring COVID-19 on the job during a declared state of emergency.

Essential employees are identified in the legislation as workers whose job duties are considered essential during an emergency response and recovery operation; public or private sector employees whose job duties are essential to the public’s health, safety and welfare; emergency responders and workers at health care facilities and those performing jobs that support a health care facility, such as laundry, research and hospital food service.

The bill moves to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. If signed into law, the legislation would take effect immediately and be retroactive to March 9. A spokeswoman for Gov. Murphy declined to comment on whether he intended to sign the legislation.