Illinois expands workers comp for first responders, health care workers

ILLINOIS HAS EXPANDED workers compensation coverage, extends unemployment benefits for first responders, health care workers and nursing home employees impacted by COVID-19.

Springfield, IL – Illinois Gov. J.R. Pritzker has signed into law a bill to expand worker’s compensation benefits for first responders, health care workers, nursing home employees and other essential workers afflicted with COVID-19.

Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) sponsored the legislation along with Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

“I applaud the governor for his swift action to sign this bill into law, ensuring our essential workers who fall ill receive the worker’s compensation benefits they need,” he said.

One part of the bill creates the “rebuttable presumption” that a first responder or essential worker who dies of COVID-19 contracted the virus while on the job, and between March 9 and Dec. 31 of this year. That will ensure compensation for the worker’s family.

Backers said the bill was aimed at employers not taking adequate protection measures, such as providing flimsy masks.

The bill also provides an extension of unemployment benefits, scraps a one-week waiting period, and broadens the range of workers eligible, including non-instructional education employees such as teachers’ aides.

The bill passed by large, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate.

Said Hoffman: “Our first responders, health care employees and other essential workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty by working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. They deserve our greatest respect and support, especially now as they navigate this unprecedented time working in potentially dangerous situations.”



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