This proposed bill would make it easier for high-risk workers to receive benefits.

Pond Lehocky’s COVID-19 task force is working diligently around the clock to bring you the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and your employee rights.

With many of our country’s most vulnerable workers on the front lines combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is working to introduce a bill that would make it easier for first responders, nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, pharmacists, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, union workers and many others to access workers’ compensation benefits.

As it stands now, if exposed to COVID-19, the issue of qualifying for workers’ compensation is really whether a person’s work requires him/her to be in crowded spaces, and whether we can prove that the virus was contracted while a person was working.

According to the Act, three (3) things must be met to receive workers’ compensation benefits:
1) The employee is exposed to the disease by reason of his/her employment;
2) The disease is casually related to the employee’s industry or occupation;
3) The occurrence of the disease is substantially greater in that industry/occupation than it is in the general public.

The proposed bill would eliminate the third requirement and COVID-19 would be presumed an occupational disease for employees of life-sustaining businesses and occupations.

Keep in mind that under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, you are only considered disabled if the injury or disease causes you to lose wages.

If you do contract the virus, and you believe it is arising out of your employment, please contact our office so that we can give you counsel as to how to proceed. We can help you and your family with all workplace or disability issues, including workers’ compensation, employment matters, Social Security disability, short- and long-term disability.

The coronavirus is, as we all know, a health crisis that our country hasn’t previously faced. Pond Lehocky’s COVID-19 task force is monitoring the situation as it changes hourly and will bring you information on our website as the situation continues to unfold. We are here to help, and we hope to give you some peace of mind in these unprecedented times. The health and safety of our hard-working clients and staff will always remain our number one priority.

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