Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO, led by President Charles Wowkanech (IUOE), issued a statement Monday commending Gov. Phil Murphy for signing into law a bill that shifts the burden of proof from the employee to the employer in workers’ compensation claims for essential workers who interact with the general public and contract COVID-19 during the declared state of emergency. “Front-line essential workers who were required to come in and work during the stay-at-home order and continue to perform services that put themselves and their families at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 at their jobs deserve the benefits of workers’ compensation and peace of mind this law provides,” Wowkanech said. The presumption of infection at the workplace is rebuttable by the employer or the insurance company if evidence exists that the worker contracted the virus outside the course of their employment. The state federation said that essential employees’ claims of workers’ compensation are routinely rejected by employers because the employees can’t prove they contracted COVID-19 at their place of work.