SECTION 1. For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:-
“Essential business”, any business that has been deemed essential by COVID Order No. 13 dated March 23, 2020 and any amendments thereto.
“Essential worker”, any individual who works for an essential business outside of the individual’s home and who has any contact with any other person.
“State of emergency”, the state of emergency called by Executive Order No. 591 dated March 10, 2020 concerning the health care crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, along with any subsequent states of emergency that may be declared by the Commonwealth from time to time or at any time due to health care concerns raised by the COVID-19 virus.
SECTION 2. Chapter 34 of Section 152 of the general laws is hereby amended by inserting the following language after the second paragraph of said Chapter:
Notwithstanding any general or special law, rule or regulation to the contrary, any essential worker, which shall include but not be limited to any individual employed in a health care facility such as a hospital, physician’s office, clinic, laboratory, nursing home, rest home or assisted living facility, or at any pharmacy, grocery store or any other essential business that includes contact with the public or other workers such as a visiting nurse, who contracts, has symptoms of or otherwise becomes affected with COVID-19 that results in a period of hospitalization, quarantine, or requires self-quarantine measures as a result of being infected or coming into contact with someone who is infected with the COVID-19 virus, shall have their medical condition or incapacity to work presumed to be work-related and constitute a per se qualification for protection under this Section, without application of any waiting period.
Said essential worker shall not be required to use said essential worker’s accrued sick time, vacation time, personal time or any other contractual time-off to cover said period of incapacitation or inability to perform regular duty work.
SECTION 3. The essential employer shall allow the essential worker to return to the essential worker’s previous position of employment with the essential employer when the period of quarantine, self-quarantine, recovery, or hospitalization is removed.
SECTION 4. The provisions of Sections 23 and 24 of Chapter 152 do not apply to claims brought under this Act, unless the employer demonstrates compliance with all relevant and active orders and advisories of the Governor of the Commonwealth concerning workplace safety restrictions during the state of emergency, such as, but not limited to, the provision to essential workers of available Personal Protective Equipment and appropriate safe distancing opportunities.
SECTION 5. This act shall be in force to protect essential workers who are exposed to the COVID-19 virus or are advised to quarantine or self-quarantine by any health official during the pendency of the state of emergency.
SECTION 6. An essential worker who chooses not to return to work for an essential employer due to a good-faith concern that the worker may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus will be considered eligible for benefits under Chapter 151A as if the essential worker had been constructively discharged.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.