Less than 10% of eligible workers in New York have filed a claim for COVID-19, according to estimates in a report by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a working group on safety promotion.
The report, by Robert E. Gray, managing partner of the plaintiff company Gray & Gray LLP, estimates that nearly 250,000 key workers developed symptoms after being infected with COVID-19 at work by 2020.
According to the report, there are only 20 978 claiming work-related COVID-19 was filed with the New York Workers & # 39; Compensation Board. At the same time, the report says that almost 19,000 of these claims were either "canceled" or considered "uncompensated" and are awaiting review by the board. Fewer than 2,1
"The number of claims that the Workers' Compensation Board has received represents a small fraction of the number of workers with work-related COVID-19," the report states. "This points to a systemic failure to provide workers with basic information about workers' compensation systems and the benefits it provides, as well as to raise significant concerns about the government's governance in this system failure."
The report concludes with recommendations including the proposal that legislators adopt S. 1241, which would explain that COVID-19 is an occupational disease arising from all work that causes workers to be in contact with the public during an outbreak or may otherwise cause them to be exposed to the virus.
Mr. Gray also recommends that WCB and other government agencies invest in an awareness campaign to inform the public that COVID-19 may be a compensation condition. And he said that the board should plan hearings in all cases and that the state should expand the types of employer activities that constitute illegal retaliation.
'Taken together, these proposals would help restore workers' compensation schemes to their intended purpose. form: a way of providing compensation and medical benefits to workers suffering from occupational injuries and illness, interpreted broadly for their protection, "writes Gray. "This would not only respond to the specific challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to the broader challenge of ensuring that the system works properly."
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