COVID-19 News Alert: Workers Compensation Injury Presumption for “Essential Employees” in NJ

September 16, 2020

On September 14, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed Senate Bill 2380 into law. As previously reported, the law creates a rebuttable presumption that COVID-19 infections contracted by “essential employees” are work-related for the purpose of receiving workers compensation benefits. An employer can rebut this presumption by showing that the infected employee was not exposed to the disease while working at the place of employment.

While the legislation specifically carves out COVID-19 claims experience from an employer’s Experience Modification Rating (EMR) calculation, the potential costs to employers under this law could be significant since its applicability is retroactive to March 9, 2020 and continues until the public health emergency declared by the Governor has ended.

Now, more than ever, it is important for employers of essential workers in New Jersey to thoroughly investigate any reported infection in order to document whether there was an exposure at the workplace. Ensuring your employees are following safety protocols and using personal protective equipment (including masks) to mitigate the transmission of the disease will also be important to rebut the presumption of a workplace exposure.

For more information about who is classified as an “essential worker” under the law and how this law may impact your organization, please read our prior news article on this topic. If you have any questions about the compensability of Workers Compensation claims, please contact your Graham Claims Consultant or please reach out to Sean Brogan (information below).

Sean H. Brogan, Esquire, CPCU
Vice President
The Graham Building
Philadelphia, PA, 19102
215-701-5260
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