Apr 30, 2021 | News Story

New Report Estimates 250,000 NYS Workers Got COVID-19 on the Job; Only 21,000 Applied for Workers Compensation

On Tuesday, NYCOSH hosted a press conference with labor unions and private attorney Robert E. Grey, report author, to call for policy changes to the workers’ compensation system. The report estimated that 250,000 workers got COVID-19 on the job, but only 21,000 applied for workers’ compensation. The report also notes that of the 21,000 who applied, only 1,000 have received a hearing. The report release was scheduled to coincide with Workers’ Memorial week in honor of workers who have died on the job.

Advocates called for policy changes, including 1) a presumption bill in favor of essential workers with COVID-19 (S. 1241); 2) a NYS investment on outreach on workers’ compensation and COVID-19; 3) NYS Workers’ Compensation Board hearings in every COVID-19 case; 4) expanded language access (S 1721); and 5) protection against retaliation.

“These policy changes are essential to ensuring that workers can access workers’ compensation and that more outreach is done to ensure that the 250,000 who got symptomatic COVID-19 know about how to apply to workers’ compensation, including undocumented and immigrant workers. Further, ever worker who has applied for workers’ compensation in New York State deserves a hearing,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). The report can be downloaded at: https://greyandgrey.com/system-failure-release/. To access a copy of the recording from the press conference, please email lara@nycosh.org.