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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Workers Compensation Bill Passed In House

Villa puts on mask
State Rep. Karina Villa puts on a shower cap mid-speech to demonstrate what some workers were given as protection from COVID-19.

Workers who caught COVID-19 on the job will be eligible for workers compensation benefits.

Business and labor groups both backed House Bill 2455 to help frontline workers. The workers will also get a boost in their payments.

State Rep. Karina Villa, a West Chicago Democrat, was briefly wearing a shower cap as a mask when she spoke.

She said hearing from employees who were given shower caps to wear as face masks nearly brought her to tears.

“I hope that our vote today reflects a unanimous vote letting those employers know that this is absolutely unacceptable in the state of Illinois for our essential workers,” Villa said.

Villa said it gives employers more incentive to protect their workers from COVID-19 exposure.

“I think that this is a fair and just bill,” Villa said. “I think that it’s important that those employers who are doing what is right are protected.”

The measure also gives on-duty death benefits to police and firefighters who contract COVID-19 on the job.

It now goes to the governor for approval.

Mike Smith is the graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legisltive session.
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