Texas Should Clear Way for Front-Line Workers Who Contract COVID-19 to Get Workers’ Compensation

The Texas AFL-CIO today called for Texas to presume that front-line working people who contract COVID-19 should receive Workers' Compensation benefits.

When employers carry Workers' Compensation insurance in Texas, benefits are available if an employee injury or death occurs on the job, but not away from the job. Texas law already presumes that First Responders who contract a respiratory illness did so on the job. That legal presumption leads to benefits unless evidence arises that another off-the-job factor caused the illness.

In a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy and Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay calls for an Executive Order applying a similar presumption for COVID-19 to nurses and other front-line and "essential" working people in Texas.

"Sadly, Texas remains the only state that does not automatically provide workers' compensation to employees," Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. "But where workers' compensation is available, working people on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic should not be forced to prove that COVID-19 was the result of a workplace contact to get benefits. These workers have taken large risks to help all Texans get through this crisis. They deserve the benefit of any doubt if illness strikes."

Here is copy of our letter: