(Albany, NY) – Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) has introduced legislation that will provide death benefits to families who have lost a frontline worker and provide essential workers who experience permanent impairments with workers’ compensation or disability benefits.
Essential workers who would qualify would be any employee of a business providing products or services that are required to maintain the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of New York State, as determined by the Governor.
This means doctors, nurses, medical support staff, police officers, EMS, firefighters, public transit workers, childcare workers, grocers, pharmacists, airport workers, Uber drivers, mailmen, truck drivers, and others could be among those who qualify.
41% of the frontline workers are people of color, which includes 45% of public transit workers, 57% building cleaning service workers and 40% of healthcare workers. In addition, two-thirds of frontline workers are women, and one-third are low-income household, according to the Governor's office.
Senator David Carlucci said, "We are not going to let any member of our essential workforce be denied benefits they deserve for risking their health and performing a job they didn't sign up for. Our essential workers have the most frequent contact with the public and are making sure we have groceries, that our doctors and nurses can get to the hospital, and that a call for help does not go unanswered. Regular, every day New Yorkers who are doing their job so we can stay home and stay safe. The effort to ensure they are protected financially with these benefits should be a universal fight among the New York State Legislature."
The legislation further ensures first responders receive their full line of duty death benefits with an absolute presumption that they contracted COVID-19 on the job.
"Police, firefighters, and EMS who pay the ultimate sacrifice and die of COVID-19 should be entitled to what they deserve," said Senator David Carlucci.
Essential employees have the most frequent contact with the public, which puts them at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. For some, particularly older workers and the immunocompromised, contracting this virus can result in irreparable damage or death.
Carlucci is advocating for funding to be provided through the federal government as was done for the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund.