Speaker Carl Heastie and Chair of the Committee on Governmental Employees Peter Abbate, Jr. today announced the Assembly has passed legislation to ensure that the families of municipal frontline workers who lost their lives to COVID-19 as a result of their service receive the benefits they deserve.
"While most of us have been instructed to stay home and practice social distancing, our municipal frontline workers are not afforded the same luxury," said Speaker Heastie. "Day after day, these public servants deliver the goods and services we need to keep New York moving. It is their work and sacrifice that allows us to stay safely in our homes. I would also like to thank my colleague Assemblymember Abbate for his tireless work to ensure the families of these heroic workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."
"While many employers are making arrangements for workers to telecommute rather than risking illness, workers like emergency medical personnel, firefighters, police officers, sanitation workers, transit workers and many others have continued to show up every day," said Assemblymember Abbate. "And for their service, many have paid the ultimate price. This legislation ensures that their families are afforded the benefits they deserve for their unimaginable loss."
Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO said, "Throughout this pandemic frontline workers have risked their own lives to provide vital public services we all depend on. Now, the families of those courageous men and women who died from COVID-19, will get the line of duty death benefits they so rightly deserve. We thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the Assembly Majority and the sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Employees, for recognizing the sacrifice so many of these brave souls made by just showing-up to work each day. This is the right thing to do for the families of these dedicated public servants during such a challenging time. For that we are grateful."
This legislation will provide an accidental death benefit to the beneficiaries of our frontline workers (A.10523, Abbate). This benefit is paid to public employees who die on the job as a result of an accident. The accidental death benefit is more substantial than the ordinary death benefit for public workers.
As COVID-19 spread across the globe, New York quickly became an epicenter of the pandemic. Since this pandemic began, more than 200 public employees have died from COVID-19 in New York City alone.