Front Line Workers Rights – Covid-19 in MA
Essential and front-line workers can attest they are hit hard by Covid-19 in Massachusetts. Coping with this unprecedented time in history is a challenge for everyone around the globe. However, essential workers are particularly struggling from the pandemic. Front line workers’ compensation rights must be understood so that workers can obtain the wages and benefits they deserve for their efforts in serving their communities.
Currently, workers compensation coverage for essential workers during Covid-19 is mostly provided to those where are in direct hazard of contracting the disease in their work environment. This equates to health-care workers like doctors and nurses are likely most eligible for coverage at this time.
Essential Workers Rights
Other essential workers not in the health-care field are challenged as they may need to prove they are in direct threat of Covid-19 in their employment. According to New Bedford Representative, Chris Hendricks the current law allows first line workers to present compensation claims to Covid-19 diagnoses. But not all claims are guaranteed compensation coverage. Hendricks goes on to state: “Employees will unfortunately have the burden of showing that the Covid-19 diagnosis was a result of exposure on the job.” Nailing down proof that Covid-19 was contracted on the job is complicated as tracing the exact molecule that triggered the virus is almost impossible to know at this time.
Hendricks goes on to conclude that bearing proof of contracting Covid-19 on the job isn’t the total problem. The problem lies in insurance companies being onslaught with claims and denying them in mass because it is not feasible to prove if Covid-19 was exclusively contracted in the workplace.
Workers compensation lawsuit claims due to Covid-19 will be staggering in numbers, and this is causing overwhelming challenges to insurance companies keeping up and approving claims.
Developments for Front Line Workers Compensation During Covid-19 in Massachusetts
Efforts in the national legislature to improve worker’s chances of retaining benefits for Covid-19-related losses have appeared to stall at the moment. However, recent actions by Massachusetts lawmakers are working to improve the situation for front line workers in the state.
For example, Representative Hendricks’ bill and Bedford’s Representative, Ken Gordon’s bill rallies for front line workers to receive immediate eligibility for wage relief. If passed, this bill would offer claimants 60% of average weekly wages. Additionally, the bill would grant 100% of Covid-19-related medical care linked to the Department of Industrial Accidents rates.
Rep. Hendricks indicated that the bill he filed in May was “on the fast-track to workers compensation benefits for front line health care workers during the Covid-19 crises.” Furthermore, Hendricks urged Governor Charlie Baker to issue an executive order that processes compensation claims with more efficiency as well as establish a precedent that any front-line worker infected with Covid-19 is presumed work related. These measures assist in streamlining and accomplishing more claims granted to essential workers deserving of their worker compensation rights and benefits.
There are still obstructions to progress however, as research must be conducted related to essential workers contracting Covid-19 on the job. Work is being done in legislature to gather and prioritize information that protects workers committed to keeping crucial infrastructures in place as well as determining how people can return to regular work routines.
Covid-19 Compensation Lawyer for Massachusetts
If you are a front-line worker and concerned about your workers’ compensation rights, please contact our workers compensation lawyer services in Massachusetts today.