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The Assembly today voted to burden businesses with the cost of treating workers who get COVID-19 by making it a presumption that they caught the virus at work and therefore are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage.

While NJBIA supports making sure essential workers get the treatment they need during this time, this bill imposes the costs on the state’s workers’ compensation—and the premium increases employers will have to pay as a result—even with plenty of federal funds available to pay for the care.

Please use the association’s online system to contact Gov. Phil Murphy and urge him to veto the bill.

“Those who sponsored and voted in favor of this legislation today made a conscious choice to place additional burdens of a worldwide pandemic on the backs of New Jersey employers who are already struggling and have made sacrifices. This is the very definition of kicking them while they are down,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas in a written statement.

While the legislation, A-3999, was making its way through committee, NJBIA suggested amendments that would reduce the burden on employers: one limiting it to truly essential workers and one limiting the presumption to the pandemic. Legislative committees did not act on these suggestions.

“More disappointingly, in addition to forcing the employer community to shoulder the increase, New Jersey is irresponsibly leaving federal CARES Act money on the table that is specifically allocated to cover the cost of essential workers who do contract COVID-19 on the job,” Buteas said.