WPPA

COVID-19 Hazard Pay & Benefits

Governor Evers to Propose Hazard Pay & Worker’s Comp. Coverage for COVID-19

April 1, 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic first began, the WPPA has been in constant contact with state and federal authorities regarding the needs and concerns of law enforcement during this incredibly trying time. 

We are pleased to report that two of the issues that we have specifically raised are included in a package of legislative proposals submitted to state lawmakers today by Governor Tony Evers. 

First, in recognition of the fact that law enforcement officers, firefighters, and others are currently working at great risk to themselves and their families, Gov. Evers is proposing that funding recently allocated by the federal government be used to establish a state grant program to provide hazard pay to first responders and other critical infrastructure workers. 

Additionally, Evers is proposing statutory changes that would allow critical employees—such as first responders—to claim worker’s compensation benefits related to COVID-19. Under this proposal, the law would presume that an afflicted officer received the illness from their occupation. Under current law, communicable diseases are not generally compensable under Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation laws and benefits are limited to cases where diseases are the result of long-term, on-the-job exposure. Under Evers’ proposal, an officer would not suffer the impossible burden of having to prove that they acquired COVID-19 in their service to their communities.

While it will be sometime before the legislature can act on these measures, Gov. Evers’ proposals recognize the critical role that our law enforcement officers and others play in keeping Wisconsin safe. They also reflect the WPPA’s effectiveness in representing the dedicated men and women of our law enforcement community.  

For more information, please feel free to contact WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer at palmer@wppa.com.