Legislation on COVID-19 workers' compensation would be another death knell for employers.
Albuquerque, February 18—The Republican Party of New Mexico condemns pending legislation that makes it easier for essential workers who contract COVID-19 to obtain workers’ compensation. The bill would force essential businesses and other entities to pay employees who claim they contracted COVID-19 on the job and workers must establish that employers had “not strictly complied with then-existent public health orders” related to coronavirus.
The bill is another nail in the coffin for businesses that have already suffered as a result of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s poor handling of the ongoing pandemic.
HB-268 punishes businesses and essential establishments in several ways.
The legislation forces them to add another layer of bureaucracy by adding this liability. This kind of liability is too difficult for employers to handle, and no insurance company will touch it because this liability is so high it’s uninsurable.
This bill is also bad because it forces essential entities to police themselves to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. This bill makes establishments, in essence, law enforcement, and they would have to be compliant and policed. Trying to make businesses law enforcement becomes another layer of bureaucracy to pay for.
Companies can be sued too easily if this legislation becomes law. How will one know if one contracted COVID-19 from a specific workplace? You can’t hold a business liable. Workers’ comp will not cover court actions.
Democratic Representatives Dayan Hochman-Vigil, Christine Chandler, and Meredith Dixon sponsored the bill, which will open the doors to more lawsuits against employers. Again, Democrats favor trial lawyers over the real needs of businesses, local establishments, and government entities.
If signed into law, the bill would be effective immediately.