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The Washington Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would make it easier for frontline employees to obtain workers compensation for occupational diseases.
S.B. 5115, which passed in a 49-1 vote, would modify existing state law to establish that if a frontline worker contracts an infectious or contagious disease that is the subject of a public health emergency, the worker is presumed to have acquired the disease in the workplace. The legislation would provide employers an opportunity to rebut the presumption.
The bill also would mandate that employers who require workers to wear personal protective equipment during a public health emergency to provide the required equipment at no cost to the employees, and would forbid employers from retaliating against workers who raise responsible concerns about infection control in the workplace.
The bill will now go to the state’s House for consideration. If signed into law, it would take effect immediately.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation to make COVID-19 a compensable illness for essential workers.