24 Jun In the News – Roundup: Safe to Work Act, Workers’ Compensation, and More
Safe to Work Act: S.4317 – 116th Congress
While employers want to get their businesses rolling again and have their employees back on the job, COVID-19 still presents some risks for the general population. Employers can follow every regulation and recommendation on how to keep employees, customers, and the workplace safe and clean from contamination. Even so, the virus can still rear its ugly head through a chance encounter.
This leaves employers vulnerable to on-the-job COVID-19 infection claims. If there are 10 infected employees out of 50 workings, then employers could find themselves in a difficult position. While employers must observe all recommendations for keeping workers safe, employers must also keep their businesses safe from abusive lawsuits which could close businesses for good.
Twenty-two states have now signed on in a letter to Congress requesting approval of the Safe-to-Work Act which would limit abusive lawsuits. This would allow businesses to continue to survive and keep workers at the workplace rather than getting derailed and going under, never to return.
The complete text for the act is available above by clicking on the Act link. A link to the letter signed by 22 state attorney generals is found here. Texas is the latest state to sign on while Arizona is not currently a signatory state.
Latest Arizona COVID-19 Statistics
On August 13th, 2020, Arizona reached a total of 190,794 infected cases, with 4,383 deaths since the beginning of recorded data, which started in January 2020. New cases reported on August 13th were 1,351 with 36 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).
The ADHS Data Dashboard provides comprehensive daily information for Demographics, by zip code, Cases, Deaths, Hospitalization, and more. For example, the break-down of deaths by race, show White/non-Hispanic – 40 percent, Hispanic or Latino – 29 percent, Native American – 11 percent, Black/non-Hispanic – 3 percent, Asian/Pacific Island – 1 percent, and Other and Unknown (combined) – 16 percent.
Most deaths by age have occurred in the 65+ group at 3,143 lost, while deaths among males were higher (57 percent) than females (43 percent). Arizona ranks 7th in the highest number of confirmed cases and 12th in confirmed deaths in the United States.
Governor Doug Ducey extended the moratorium on July 16, 2020, for rental evictions until October 31st, 2020, as well as expanding rental assistance. The governor also extending temporary closures of various businesses on July 23, 2020, for two more weeks.
If You are Exposed to COVID-19, Can You Take Sick Leave?
A recent case in Arizona of a worker who was exposed to COVID-19 chose to self-quarantine upon the recommendation of his doctor. As he did not yet have symptoms of the virus and, therefore, could not claim workers’ compensation, he chose to use his accrued paid sick leave which would cover the two weeks he was out.
His employer only paid him for two days of the two weeks he was out, leading to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The investigators informed the employer that the company had violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provisions as presented in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The employer had to reimburse $1,000 to the employee. You can read more about the case in the header link to this story.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19, be sure to see your doctor at the earliest moment you can. If the doctor recommends quarantine, have the doctor state the recommendation in a letter that can be given to the employer. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter yourself.
If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim or have other related issues, call Arizona workers compensation lawyers at once for a free consultation. We can help you. 602-346-9009.