Cover Covid19 Exposed or Contracted Longshore Workers Under Federal Compensation.

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Given the current COVID-19 pandemic and the risks inherent to longshoremen, the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) requests a temporary measure be implemented to cover under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) longshore workers who have been quarantined due to the contraction of the virus or when an individual leaves employment due to exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
In most states, injuries or diseases that occur at the workplace are covered by state workers' compensation laws. However, the longshore industry is unique in that it is covered by a federal statute, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). see 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. The LHWCA provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation to employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries or diseases that occur on the navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel. See 33 U.S.C. 902(4). The employees covered by the LHWCA include "longshoremen or other person[s] engaged in longshoring operations." 33 U.S.C.  902(3).

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, longshoremen are especially at risk to contract and transmit the virus. The federal government has deemed longshore work an essential service. Therefore, longshoremen are exempt from the "shelter in place" mandates that several states have issued. Because longshore workers must report for work even during the coronavirus pandemic, they are at especially high risk of contracting the virus at the workplace. In addition, there is a high likelihood that workers who may have been exposed to the virus, at work or elsewhere, may transmit the virus to a co-worker. Therefore, it is extremely important that compensation benefits be available to longshoremen to ensure that they may take necessary precautions if they contract or are exposed to the coronavirus.