Bill extending workers’ comp benefits to first responders with COVID passes House, Senate
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the largest in the state, has seen more than 126 positive COVID-19 cases.
Only 14 of those who contracted COVID in the department have been deemed to be eligible state-funded workers’ compensation benefits.
A bill from Norfolk Democratic Del. Jay Jones that would allow first responders to receive a presumption for COVID-19 sickness under the state’s workers compensation system has passed both the House and the Senate and is headed to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam, where it is expected to be signed into law.
The Jones bill would establish a critical COVID presumption for first responders that will make it easier for them to receive workers compensation protections.
“Our first responders have been on the front-lines of the pandemic for a year and they deserve the ability to make a workers compensation claim for COVID if they were exposed on the job,” said Jones, who is challenging two-term Attorney General Mark Herring for the Democratic Party nomination to run for attorney general this year.
“Firefighters, law enforcement, and EMS providers have come into contact with COVID far too often and we have an obligation to protect them. The current worker’s protections outlined in the Code of Virginia are inadequate and this is a simple but incredibly necessary fix that protects those who have sacrificed so much to keep the rest of us safe. I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks to former Governor Terry McAuliffe for his efforts to secure the retroactive provision in this legislation.”