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New York, Alaska introduce COVID-19 presumption bills


Lawmakers in New York and Alaska on Friday introduced legislation to make COVID-19 a compensable occupational disease for certain classes of workers.

New York S.B. 1241 would modify existing workers compensation law to make COVID-19 a compensable occupational disease for workers who must perform their jobs outside of the home during a period when non-essential businesses are closed and could be exposed to the virus. The legislation applies to a wide range of workers, including first responders, essential and health care workers, and those who work in transportation, hospitality, schools/day cares and public utilities.

If signed into law, the bill would take effect immediately.

Alaska H.B. 45 would create a presumption of compensability for COVID-19 during a declared disaster emergency for first responders, health care and grocery workers, and teachers and day care workers who acquire coronavirus. To qualify for workers compensation, the workers must have a positive test or diagnosis and have worked outside their homes with members of the public within 14 days of the positive test or diagnosis.

If signed into law, the bill would be retroactive to Nov. 15, 2020.

More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.


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