Bills Advancing Workers’ Comp Coverage For Nurses Who Contract COVID-19 Draw Labor Support

The United Labor Legislative Committee has endorsed a bill that would presume nurses who contract COVID-19 did so on the job so they are eligible to receive Workers' Compensation benefits.

The identical measures are HB 396 by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, and SB 433 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo (also filed as SB 439 by Sen. César Blanco, D-El Paso).

The presumption of coverage under the legislation would remove problems nurses in the Workers' Comp system could face in proving how they became infected. An employer could still counter with any evidence an infection took place outside the job.

"Nurses have been heroes through this whole pandemic," Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. "They have taken unimaginable risks, navigating great danger to treat their patients and fulfill their calling. These bills recognize the heightened risk nurses have taken on under incredibly trying circumstances."

"It is time for our actions as a state to match our rhetoric praising front-line workers, and we can start by making worker safety a top priority. We should always lean in the direction of Workers' Comp coverage for nurses who heroically put their lives and the lives of their families on the line to serve our communities."

"In fact," Levy said, "we also support legislation that establishes a presumption of workers' comp coverage for all front-line and essential workers who contract COVID-19. The businesses and public entities they serve cannot thrive without them."