Governor Pritzker signs bill extending protections for first responders, frontline essential workers impacted by COVID-19

Regional News

FILE – In this March 30, 2020 file photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks in Chicago during the daily update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Pritzker said during a stop in Rock Island, Ill., Monday, July 27, 2020, that “things are not moving in the right direction” in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois, where officials reported a sixth day in a row of more than 1,000 newly confirmed cases. Earlier in Quincy, the Democrat said he didn’t expect life in Illinois to return to normal until sometime next year. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Building on efforts to protect Illinois’ first responders and frontline essential workers, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 4276 into law. The legislation extends worker compensation benefits until June 30, 2021 for first responders and frontline essential workers who were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 through their job.  

“This legislation ensures that our first responders and frontline essential workers, as well as their families, continue to receive the protection and benefits that they deserve,” said Pritzker. “Illinois has made substantial progress in our fight against COVID-19 and it is because of the hard work, and sometimes difficult sacrifices, from our first responders and frontline essential workers. I am proud to sign this legislation as my administration continues to do all it can to protect them, their families and all our communities.” 

“We’ve asked first responders and frontline workers to repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way to protect us throughout the pandemic,” said Senator/Assistant Majority Leader Bill Cunningham. “I’m proud to join Governor Pritzker to help ensure that we, in turn, protect first responders and frontline workers should they contract the virus while at work.” 

“First responders and essential frontline workers put their lives on the line every single day,” said Representative, Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman. “This bill is necessary and will ensure the continued protection of those serving on the frontlines that have contracted COVID-19 while on the job. Thank you Governor Pritzker for recognizing the sacrifice our first responders, essential frontline workers and their families have made for the state of Illinois.” 

“Once again, Governor Pritzker has demonstrated his support not just for our firefighter/paramedics but for all essential employees in Illinois by signing HB 4276 into law,” said Chuck Sullivan, President of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois. “As we work through this global pandemic, the Governor, as well as Leader Hoffman and Leader Cunningham have proven time and again that worker rights are important to them. This bill will continue to allow those serving on the frontlines an assurance that if they should contract COVID, there are measures in place to protect them.” 

HB 4276 also allows extended time-off up to 60 days if COVID impacted the recovery of an employee. For example, if COVID impacted an individual’s ability to attend physical therapy at the doctor’s office which was closed because of COVID-19, under the new legislation, the time period is extended so the employee can now take time off to rehabilitate and receive compensation.  

The legislation also extends the timeline in which the death of a policeman and fireman from COVID-19 can be designated as a fatal injury while in active service. 

HB 4276 is effective immediately. 

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