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All Essential Workers Now Deemed “Eligible” for Workers’ Compensation Benefits Under New Legislation

On September 14, 2020, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed important legislation that benefits all workers who contracted COVID-19 while working through the current pandemic. The legislation creates the presumption that the contracted illness is “work related.” Before this legislation was signed, only “public safety workers” such as police, fire, EMT, and medical personnel, were granted this presumption.

This newly signed legislation now grants eligibility for benefits to allessential workers who worked during the lock-down from March through July, while previously only those deemed “public safety workers” were eligible for benefits. Employees in the public and private sectors were deemed “essential workers” during the pandemic if their duties and responsibilities were essential to the public’s health, safety, and welfare. This includes workers like gas station attendants, grocery store personnel, and employees of other retail stores and warehouses.

While this legislation does not guarantee that all essential workers will receive benefits, it does make them eligible if they fall into one of the “essential employees” categories. Benefits may include wage replacement for lost time from work due to the virus, or an award of permanent disability if the worker has not made a full recovery from COVID -19.

COPYRIGHT © 2020, STARK & STARKNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 259


About this Author

Vicki Beyer, Stark and Stark, New Jersey, Worker's Compensation Lawyer

Vicki W. Beyer is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Workers' Compensation Group where she concentrates her practice in workers' compensation claims, social security disability, and disability pension appeals for public employees before the Office of Administrative Law.

In March 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in favor of Ms. Beyer's client, a permanently disabled former New Jersey Corrections Officer.  The case, Guadagno v. Board of Trustees, Police and Firemen's Retirement System, was...