The Proposed Senate Bill S2380 has been signed by New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, as of Monday, September 14, 2020 with the effective date being March 9th, 2020. This legislation affects essential workers and their workers’ compensation by creating a rebuttable presumption that if they were to contract COVID-19 from their place of work, making it a ‘work-related’ issue and would then be compensable for benefits.

The burden of proof is put onto the employer by allowing them to negate a presumption made by the employee. To do this, said employer must prove by a preponderance of evidence (more than 50%) that the worker was in no way exposed to the disease in their work establishment.

It is beneficial to the employee in regards to proving whether the illness was contracted during work, however, tracing the origins of the disease becomes difficult once one has recovered.

An ‘essential worker’ is defined as:

  1. Public safety workers or first responders;
  2. Those involved in providing medical and other healthcare services, emergency transportation, social services, and other care services, including services provided in health care facilities, residential facilities or homes;
  3. Those who perform functions which involve physical proximity to members of the public and are essential to the public’s health, safety, and welfare, including transportation services, hotel and other residential services, financial services, and the production, preparation, storage, sale and distribution of essential goods such as food, beverages, medicine, fuel, and supplies for conducting essential business and work at home, or;
  4. Anyone deemed an essential employee by the public authority declaring the state of emergency.

If you have any further questions, please contact Goldberg & Wolf, LLC, at 856-651-1600.