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Essential Workers Urge Lamont to Establish Workers’ Compensation Presumption During Pandemic

David C. Dal Zin
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On Monday, April 20, at 11:30 a.m., essential workers and legislators will hold a press conference on Zoom to urge Gov. Ned Lamont to sign an executive order that creates a workers’ compensation presumption when they are stricken with COVID-19.

Courageous essential workers are serving their communities and keeping our state running during this public health emergency, often without adequate protective equipment and jeopardizing their own health in the process. With hundreds of corrections officers, doctors, nurses, police, fire fighters, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and other essential workers already having been exposed and potentially infected with the novel coronavirus, Gov. Lamont must order a workers’ compensation presumption so these critical workers can receive important healthcare and wage replacement benefits through the workers’ compensation system.

By issuing an executive order, Governor Lamont could create an irrebuttable presumption that the worker contracted the illness on the job. This would allow workers’ compensation claims to be processed in a timely manner and prevent these essential employees from having to go through a protracted appeals process with employers and/or insurance companies who will undoubtedly challenge their claims.

Since Gov. Lamont’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order (7H) and adherence to social distancing, these essential workers have no other exposure to COVID-19 except on the job. Creating a presumption will streamline their access to vital benefits.

Speakers will include four frontline workers (a nurse, corrections officer, grocery store worker, and building cleaner), Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano, Sen. Julie Kushner, and Rep. Robyn Porter.

The Senate Democratic Caucus and the House Democratic Caucus both sent Gov. Lamont letters urging him to establish this presumption.