ANSONIA — Gov. Ned Lamont will issue an executive order to allow some front-line workers in Connecticut’s coronavirus pandemic to automatically be eligible for state compensation benefits if they fall ill.
In apparent response to requests from unions who have campaigned in recent weeks to have presumption eligibility for Worker’s Compensation, the governor, speaking Friday after an unrelated news conference here, said that many grocery workers, health care employees and other essential employees deserve the assistance.
“We’ve had some amazing front-line, essential workers who at some risk during the peak of the pandemic, were going to work,” Lamont said. “Ninety percent if they got ill, they had a claim, most of those claims were expeditiously handled, and they got their workmen’s comp. Some took a long period of time. There was some frustration about that.”
He said that the executive order he intends to issue next week that clarifies that if those workers contract the virus while working, they will be covered by Worker’s Compensation. Lamont could not estimate how many people might become eligible. “It’s limited,” he said.
Ginny Ligi, a correctional officer who is a member of AFSCME Local 387, said in a statement Friday that she is grateful for Lamont’s interest.
“My fellow correctional officers and I know that by going to work, we are putting our loved ones at risk,” she said. “That weighs heavily on us. I hope the governor’s executive order will bring some relief, because COVID-19 remains a threat to front-line workers everywhere — whether you’re a correction officer like me, or a grocery store clerk, a bus driver or a hospital nurse.”