Illinois lawmakers pass COVID-19 bill

Illinois lawmakers in both houses on Friday passed an omnibus labor bill that would provide death benefits for first responders who were presumably infected with COVID-19 on duty and workers compensation benefits for essential workers under certain conditions.

H.B. 2455 also revises state code to expand unemployment benefits and enhance sick pay and leave for workers who contract the virus.

The legislation creates a rebuttable presumption for essential workers, including first responders, who presumably contracted the virus during statewide shutdowns. Under the bill, employers can rebut claims under certain conditions, including if they can demonstrate the workplace was following current public health guidelines for two weeks prior to when the employee claims they contracted the virus; can provide proof that the employee was exposed by another source outside of the workplace; or the employee was working from home for at least 14 days prior to the injury claim.

Addressing death benefits for police officers and firefighters who die after testing positive for the virus or its antibodies, the bill states the first responder must have contracted the virus between March 9 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has 10 days from the bill’s passage to sign it into law.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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