SECTION 1. For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:-
“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 frontline healthcare worker, working in a healthcare facility or in the community, who has symptoms of or otherwise becomes infected with or is suspected to be infected 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 healthcare worker shall not be required to use said healthcare 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 employer shall allow the healthcare worker to return to the worker’s previous position of employment when the period of quarantine, self-quarantine, recovery, or hospitalization is concluded.
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 healthcare workers of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and appropriate safe distancing opportunities.
SECTION 5. This act shall be in force to protect healthcare 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 healthcare 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.
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