MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police and first responders worry about safety, but what if they contract the coronavirus? Union officials say they are well aware of the concerns.
“The officers out there were not sure if they came down with it they would be covered by workman’s comp. The chief financial officer, Jim Patronis, along with the governor, they supported a me sure for that,” explained Miami-Dade PBA President Steadman Stahl. “Now, if first responders get effected by it, it will be covered by workers comp. It is a big relief to officers and family.”
Florida police officers, firefighters, paramedics and national guard will be eligible for workers’ compensation. But there is a catch. First responders will have to prove they contracted coronavirus at work.
“Right now, our workman’s comp is processing claims as long as you can prove that it happened on duty. It is up to you to prove that information,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association President Jeff Bell.
Recently, four BSO deputies tested positive for the virus. They will likely file claims.
“We will sort out the details later on who qualifies for workers’ comp and who does not,” said Bell. “We are going to fight for every single deputy if they are sick on duty. Just like any exposure to a chemical, we will get them covered by workers’ comp.”
And how about hazard duty pay? That is in the works. Federal legislation is being proposed to fund the extra pay.
“They are talking about a fourth stimulus bill that would give more hazard pay to the first responders, which we welcome,” said Stahl.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has urged the Trump administration to include hazard duty pay in an upcoming stimulus bill.