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4/17/2020 Rep. Williams praises Beacon Mutual Insurance for protecting frontline workers and essential personnel during pandemic
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) is praising Beacon Mutual Insurance for their announcement that they would be helping and protecting frontline workers and essential personnel by considering any COVID-19 infections suffered by these employees work-related, providing the worker with labor protections resulting from the work-related infection.

“I am grateful that Beacon Mutual is stepping up during these extremely stressful and trying times to help our frontline workers and essential employees who are putting themselves and their families at risk everyday so that others may remain safely in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The bravery and selflessness being exhibited by these employees deserves this designation and these employees have truly earned these crucial employee protection benefits.  I would also like to thank the governor for recognizing the importance of ideas and solutions coming from outside of her administration, such as the executive order I proposed earlier this week to make those still working in our new economy a priority.  But most importantly, I’d like to thank all those still braving this crisis and working so that the rest of us may continue to live with the necessary goods and services we require on a daily basis.  Today’s announcement is a perfect example of the real meaning of ‘we are all in this together’ and I thank Beacon Mutual and all of Rhode Island’s essential employees from the bottom of my heart,” said Representative Williams.

On Monday, Representative Williams proposed an executive order that would designate any COVID-19 infection suffered by any employee deemed “essential” to automatically be considered a work-related injury. 

Although not all of the workers specified in Representative Williams’ request will be eligible due to having access to unemployment and TDI benefits, she is grateful that Beacon Mutual will be helping all essential employees who are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.

The executive order would apply to first responders and anyone designated by the Director of the Department of Labor and Training and the Director of the Department of Administration as an essential employee. This would include any public safety official, including but not limited to, police, fire, EMS, medical facility workers, correctional officers, dispatchers, paramedics, pharmacists, and pharmaceutical technicians. The order would also apply to grocery or retail workers, essential state and municipal employees, janitorial staff, public transportation employees, parcel and freight delivery employees, truck drivers and utility workers, whether the workers are citizens, documented or undocumented immigrants. Any worker who contracts, has symptoms of or otherwise becomes affected with COVID-19, during the time period in which the  state, federal government or any municipality declared a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that results in a period of hospitalization, quarantine, or require self-quarantine measures as a result of being infected or coming into contact with someone who is infected with the COVID-19, shall have their medical condition or incapacity to work presumed to be work-related.

The amount of time any public safety official or employee is incapacitated or unable to perform their duties as a result of the COVID-19 infection or exposure and the required time of hospitalization, time of quarantine or time of self-quarantine shall be considered as on duty time, and said public safety official shall not be required to use their sick time, vacation time, or 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.

No claim or report of injuries, or the identity of the claimant, relative to any claim filed pursuant to the workers’ compensation laws of this state shall be reported by any state agency or employer to any federal law enforcement authority, including but not limited to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903