cashier 011121SPRINGFIELD – Recognizing that essential employees and first-responders face increased risk of COVID-19 infections, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) voted to extend a set of emergency provisions designed to streamline worker’s compensation.

“This pandemic has shown just how vulnerable working people are if they get sick on the job,” Gillespie said. “Essential workers and first-responders deserve a safety net, so they and their families are protected from the economic fallout of catching COVID-19.”

Under normal circumstances, employees are responsible for proving their injuries or illness stem from the workplace to qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. Because first-responders and essential workers face increased exposure to the COVID-19 virus, state lawmakers changed the law in May to assume an essential worker who contracts the virus did so in the workplace and qualifies for benefits. An employer must now prove the infection happened outside work and the workers doesn’t deserve coverage.

If signed into law, the extension runs through June 30, 2021. House Bill 4276 passed in the Illinois Senate without opposition and awaits consideration in the Illinois House.