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Lawmakers in Maryland and Rhode Island proposed legislation Friday that would make it easier for certain classes of workers to obtain workers compensation for COVID-19.
Maryland H.B. 765 would amend state workers compensation law to presume that firefighters, rescue squad members, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, certain health care workers and child care workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 acquired the virus in the course and scope of their employment unless successfully rebutted.
Under the legislation, to obtain workers compensation the worker must suffer from acute respiratory distress from COVID-19, have been in direct contact with members of the public and test positive for coronavirus or its antibodies.
Rhode Island H.B. 5264 would classify any disability or quarantine resulting from COVID-19 as an occupational disease during a declared state or emergency, and would also create a rebuttable presumption that certain workers who acquire COVID-19 during that state of emergency did so in the course and scope of their employment.
The legislation would apply to licensed health care workers having direct or indirect contact with coronavirus patients, public safety workers, essential workers including grocery and transportation workers that have contact with the public, and any other workers designated as essential during a declared emergency.
Both bills would take effect upon passage.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
Lawmakers in two states have introduced legislation would make COVID-19 an occupational injury by presumption, potentially joining the wave of laws and executive orders currently in place in 19 states and introduced as legislation in 11 states so far in 2021.