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Massachusetts State Legislature Considers Emergency Hazard Benefits During Covid-19 Pandemic

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State Senator Michael O. Moore of Worcester and State Representative James Arciero have presented an emergency bill known as S2602 (an identical emergency bill is pending in the House as well, known as H4927).  Interested members of the public are invited to give testimony (via written submissions due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines) today, April 6 2020.

The bill provides that all police, fire personnel, correction officers, dispatchers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nursing professionals, and all individuals employed and considered as 1st responders, who contract, have symptoms of, or otherwise becomes affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), that results in a period of hospitalization, quarantine, or require self-quarantined measures as a result of being infected or coming into contact with someone who is infected with this virus, shall have their medical condition or incapacity to work presumed to be work-related.  This means the amount of time the public safety official is incapacitated or unable to perform their  duties as a result of COVID-19 shall be considered on duty time, and that the public safety official shall not be required to use 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.  The time of incapacitation or inability to perform their duties shall be considered as “emergency hazard health duty.”

In short, this bill means that first responders and public safety officials will not have to use sick time or vacation time if they have to take time away from work due to COVID-19 and will continue to receive their pay.  To voice your support, call your State Representative and State Senator today!  You can learn more about the law here:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2602

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