In response to a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has reinstated a Public Health Emergency effective as of January 11, 2022.
In addition to allowing the Governor to exercise certain emergency powers, the re-declaration will reactivate a workers’ compensation presumption initially enacted under a bill signed in 2020.
This is a major development for workers in the state of New Jersey. Itmeans that first responders, health care workers, and others who work in contact with the public will again be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits after they contract COVID-19.
About New Jersey’s COVID Presumption
Gov. Murphy’s emergency declaration re-activates a provision of S.B. 2380, a 2020 bill that created a rebuttable presumption that contraction of COVID-19 is work related.
Some important facts about the presumption:
- The presumption applies to essential workers, which include any public or private employees who, during a state of emergency:
- Are a First Responder or Public Safety Worker (i.e. police and fire fighters);
- Provide medical or other health care services (i.e. emergency transportation, social services, and other care services, including services provided in health care facilities, residential facilities, or homes);
- Perform jobs that require physical proximity to the public and are essential to public health, safety, and welfare (i.e. transportation services, hotel, and other residential services, financial services, and the production, preparation, storage, sale, and distribution of essential goods such as food, beverages, medicine, fuel, and supplies for conducting essential business and work at home); or
- Have been deemed an essential worker by the state of New Jersey.
- The presumption means essential workers seeking benefits do not have to prove a work-related connection, which is a difficult burden given the transmissibility of COVID and the fact that the source of transmission is often unknown.
- The presumption is effective as of January 11, 2022 through the duration of the Public Health Emergency.
Levinson Axelrod Serves Essential Workers Across the State
Levinson Axelrod, P.A. has been closely involved in protecting the rights of essential workers throughout the pandemic. In fact, Partner Rich Marcolus and our team actively advocated for the presumption when it was initially signed by Gov. Murphy in 2020 and successfully handled some of the first occupational exposure cases involving COVID in the state shortly thereafter.
Now that the reinstated Public Health Emergency entitles essential workers in New Jersey to important benefits after they contract COVID-19, we are again fighting for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to provide essential services.
If you have questions about essential worker COVID-19 exposure and how Levinson Axelrod, P.A. can help you pursue benefits, please call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a FREE consultation. Our firm serves clients across New Jersey from multiple locations.