Friday, June 2, 2023

Senate Completes COVID-19 Jobs Protection, Worker Classification

The Senate concurred in the House amendments to Senate Bill 277, completing action on the Covid-19 Jobs Protection Act during Thursday’s floor session.

The legislation is intended to provide legal certainty and protection to employers that remained open or reopened during the pandemic. The bill is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020.

The Senate’s version of the bill provided blanket immunity from any claim filed against “any person, essential business, business, entity, health care facility, health care provider, first responder, or volunteer for loss, damage, physical injury or death arising from COVID-19, COVID-19 care, or impacted care.”

The House amended it to ensure it would not protect businesses deemed to have caused intentional harm. Ultimately, the Senate approved the House’s amended version. This bill now heads to the Governor’s desk to await his signature.

Also on Thursday, the Senate concurred in House amendments and completed action on a Department of Commerce rules bill, as well as a bill relating to the WV Employment Law Worker Classification Act.

Senate Bill 272 adds a new section into state law which aims to clarify the definition of an independent contractor. The legislation also creates new opportunities for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. The goal is to provide more certainty for both businesses and workers during a time when an increasing number of people work as independent contractors in the “gig” economy.

The Senate is adjourned until tomorrow, March 12, at 11 a.m.

Finance will meet at 3 p.m. in 451M.

Judiciary will meet at 3 p.m. today and 9 a.m. tomorrow in 208W.

Legislative Oversight on Education Accountability will meet tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in 451M.

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