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Firms Sue to Block Illinois Virus Benefits for Essential Workers

April 22, 2020, 8:40 PM

Manufacturer and retailer groups in Illinois sued the state to block expanded benefits for so-called essential workers who get sick with coronavirus.

New rules introduced last week -- which allow essential personnel including grocery clerks and nurses to collect worker’s compensation without having to show they contracted the illness on the job -- overstep the state’s authority and will impose significant costs on employers, the trade groups said in a lawsuit.

“These emergency amendments unlawfully create new substantive rights for employees and new liabilities for employers,” the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Springfield.

The new rule by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission was backed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, but the groups said only the state legislature can make such a change. Pritzker declined to comment on the lawsuit when asked about it at a press conference.

Illinois is among at least 18 states that have passed or are considering more expansive workers’ compensation rules for essential workers.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Janan Hanna in Chicago at jhanna31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net

Steve Stroth

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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