Legislation introduced in California Assembly to protect COVID19 first responders, health care workers

Legislation was introduced today in the California Assembly to offer additional protections to first responders and health care workers...

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Legislation was introduced today in the California Assembly to offer additional protections to first responders and health care workers dealing with the COVID19 pandemic. 

Assembly Bill 664 will ensure these employees working on the frontline additional protections should they be exposed to the virus. If enacted, the bill includes workplace protections shall include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits to all peace officers, firefighters, and healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 or any communicable disease during a local or statewide emergency is declared.   

“This pandemic has put our first responders and frontline health care workers at the forefront of the country’s biggest modern crisis,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D - San Diego), one of the bill's sponsors said. “We need to strengthen workplace protections for these heroes if they become sick while protecting the rest of us from COVID-19.”

Additionally, the employees covered by the legislation will be eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs for the purchase of personal protective equipment, medical, and living expenses required while performing their essential duties during a state of emergency. An employee who is eligible for compensation should not be required to use accrued vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, sick leave, or any other leave, other than applicable benefits made available for reimbursement. 

The bill was also introduced by Assemblymembers Jim Cooper (D - Elk Grove) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).

“Every day, our first responders and health care workers are on the frontlines fighting to keep us safe and healthy,” Cooper said. “These workers not only show up to protect us, but they are asked to go toward the risk while most of us are asked to stay away from it. 

AB 664 is sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff’s, California Professional Firefighters, and the California Nurses Association.

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