Assemblywoman ANNETTE QUIJANO
District 20 (Union)
Concerns employment benefits and coronavirus disease 2019 infections contracted by employees of distribution center or warehouse.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning employees of distribution centers and warehouses contracting coronavirus disease 2019 and supplementing Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. As used in this act:
“Distribution center” means a facility that is used to receive, store temporarily, and redistribute goods, based on received customer orders.
“Warehouse” means a commercial building that is used to store goods.
2. If, during the public health emergency declared by an executive order of the Governor and any extension of the order, an employee contracts coronavirus disease 2019 during a time period in which the employee is working in a distribution center or warehouse, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the contraction of the disease is work-related and fully compensable for the purposes of benefits provided under R.S.34:15-1 et seq., ordinary and accidental disability retirement, and any other benefits provided by law to individuals suffering injury or illness through the course of their employment. This prima facie presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence showing that the employee was not exposed to the disease while working in the distribution center or warehouse.
3. Any workers’ compensation claims paid according to section 2 of this act shall not be considered in calculating an employer’s Experience Modification Factor, pursuant to the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance Manual administered by the Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau established by section 2 of P.L.1995, c.393 (C.34:15-89.1) and section 1 of P.L.2008, c.97 (C. 34:15-90.1).
4. This act is intended to affirm certain rights of employees under the circumstances specified in this act, and shall not be construed as reducing, limiting or curtailing any rights of any worker or employee to benefits provided by law.
5. This act shall take effect immediately and shall be retroactive to March 9, 2020.
This bill creates a rebuttable
presumption that coronavirus
disease 2019 contracted by employees working in distribution centers or warehouses, is work-related and fully compensable for the purpose of workers’ compensation benefits and other employment benefits provided for work-related injuries and illnesses.
The bill provides that workers’ compensation claims paid as a result of the rebuttable presumption provided by the bill are not to be considered in calculating an employer’s experience modifier rate or otherwise affect an employer’s insurance premium rate for the employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
The bill is retroactive to March 9, 2020, the date of Governor Murphy’s declaration of a public health emergency with respect to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.