On April 29, 2020, Governor Wolf signed Act 17 of 2020 into law and extended benefits under Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act, 53 P.S. §637, to law enforcement officers, fire fighters and other covered individuals due to a COVID-19 infection or exposure resulting in quarantine.
There was no question that a COVID-19 case or exposure would be a qualifying injury under the Heart and Lung Law if the exposure occurred while in the performance of their duties. The challenge in determining eligibility is how the officer was exposed to COVID-19. In order to qualify for benefits prior to Act 17, the officer would have had to show that the COVID-19 exposure occurred during the “performance of their duties” and prove that the infection could not have resulted from any off-work exposure. As the rate of COVID-19 infection and exposure increases in the community, this standard would have become extremely difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain.
Act 17 of 2020 eliminates this requirement and provides benefits to law enforcement officers, fire fighters or other covered individuals who contract COVID-19, are diagnosed with it, or a COVID-19 exposure that results in quarantine. The Act provides their full salary and benefits for up to sixty days, if temporarily incapacitated from preforming their duties. The law is effective immediately.
In Pennsylvania, the Heart and Lung Act, provides benefits to Pennsylvania State Troopers, all municipal police officers, sheriff’s deputies, State correctional officers, fire fighters, Agents of the PA Office of Attorney General, State Probation and Parole Officers, Capital Police Officers, PA Game Commission officers, PA Fish and Boat Commission officers and other law enforcement officers.
All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Siana Law. This publication is designed to provide general information relating to the covered subject matter. None of the information is offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Although prepared by professionals, the materials contained in this publication are not intended to be utilized as a substitute for obtaining legal or other professional advice. We encourage you to obtain legal or other professional guidance regarding those specific matters for which you require assistance.