MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday evening signed a bill that expands workers’ compensation eligibility for emergency first responders and front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill, H.F. 4537, expands eligibility for front-line workers by creating the presumption that a COVID-19 infection is work-related, unless the employer is able to prove the infection happened elsewhere.
“Minnesotans came together – labor organizations, businesses, Democrats, and Republicans – to move this legislation forward,” Walz said. “Our first responders and front-line workers are making tremendous sacrifices – and it’s our duty to protect them as best we can. This law does exactly that.”
Front-line workers include doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police, long-term care workers, home health workers, correctional officers, and child care providers.
“We are here for our first responders and health care workers who are fighting non-stop to keep Minnesotans safe,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said. “I’m proud of the tireless, bipartisan work at the legislature that went into getting this agreement.”
The legislation is effective April 8 and is in place until May 1. Anyone in these categories who contracted COVID-19 before will have to go through the process of proving they got it on the job.
As for paying for this, legislators say they are not sure how this will get paid for and that it will hit employers hard but in this crisis legislators said they had to take this action now to protect those on the front lines.