Illinois Legislature Proposes Closing Work Comp Loophole for Volunteer & Part-Time Firefighters

In an effort to close a loop hole which makes it more difficult for volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics to obtain temporary disability benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, State Senator Neil Anderson has sponsored a bill which would seek to remove the statutory waiting period for these injured workers to qualify for disability benefits.

In order to initially qualify for total temporary disability benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, the law provides that the period of temporary total incapacity for work must last more than 3 working days.  However, given the potentially sporadic nature of working days for volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time employees, this could result in otherwise eligible and incapacitated employees failing to qualify for disability benefits simply because they have not been called back to work.  In an effort to remedy this issue, SB1219 has been introduced which would amend the Act to provide that in the case of volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics, compensation shall commence on the day after the accident.

As of February 13, 2019, this bill was advanced by being assigned to the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.  If the bill passes the legislature as introduced and is signed into law, it would become effective immediately.

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