Labor Groups Calling for COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Benefits
New York has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Dubbed the epicenter of the outbreak, the state has seen more than 270,000 cases of the disease so far. More than 16,000 people have died. Most of the cases are in heavily populated New York City.
New York is a scary place for healthcare staff and other essential workers right now. Thousands have been exposed to the deadly coronavirus. Many are concerned because there are no real protections in place to help them should they contract the virus. They could be fired from their jobs.
There have been efforts at the state and federal levels to help these workers. There have been discussions about creating a COVID-19 heroes compensation fund to offer benefits to workers affected by the disease, as was done to compensate victims of the 9/11 attacks. This fund would provide a $25,000 “premium pay increase” for doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, transit workers, and other essential workers. It would also offer a $15,000 incentive to recruit people to work on the front lines. However, the money would go to essential workers even if they have tested positive for COVID-19, which makes it different from workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation is available to those who become sick or injured while on the job. It covers lost wages and medical expenses. Because workers’ compensation covers on-the-job illnesses, employees infected with COVID-19 should be covered by workers compensation. However, access should be expanded to ensure that employers are in compliance. Many employers are arguing with sick employees and refusing to honor their workers’ compensation claims. This is causing frustrating situations for workers who are putting their health at risk and then not having money available when they get sick and must take time off work.
While labor groups say that workers’ compensation should be the main remedy, more should be done. There should be various benefits available to compensate those who are risking their lives during this dangerous pandemic. There should also be adjustments made to the current system to make sure people get the money they need in a timely manner. While the heroes fund is a good idea, it could take years to implement, just like the 9/11 fund did. People need financial help right away. They can’t wait.
The good news is that the government is responding accordingly. The state and federal governments have created new laws, including offering paid emergency sick leave during this time.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Not all people can work from home. Health care workers, grocery workers and other essential workers are on the front lines providing the public with necessary goods and services. Unfortunately, many of them have gotten sick and even died in the process.
If you contracted COVID-19 during the course of your work duties, make sure you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon can help you understand your legal rights. Schedule a free consultation today. Call (914) 228-1770 or fill out the online form.