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Connecticut Expands Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries for All Employees

06 Jul


Update applicable to:

All employers in Connecticut for certain workers

What happened?

On June 5, 2023, Substitute Bill No. 913 was enacted as Public Act (PA) No. 23-35, “An Act Expanding Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries for All Employees.”

What are the details?

The law extends certain workers’ comp benefits now in place for police, firefighters and others who witness tragic events on the job to any employee on any job who witnesses similar tragedies.

Current state law generally limits eligibility for PTSI benefits to certain first responders (e.g., police officers, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, and emergency 9-1-1 dispatchers) who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) as a direct result of certain qualifying events (e.g., witnessing someone’s death) that may occur in the line of duty.

Beginning on January 1, 2024, eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits for PTSI will cover any employee in Connecticut who is already covered by the workers’ compensation law; the workers’ compensation system in Connecticut covers nearly all employees regardless of their occupation, business size, employment duration, or the number of hours worked per day.

Under S.B. 913, all employees in Connecticut would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if a mental health professional examines them and diagnoses PTSI as a direct result of an event that occurs in their course of employment in which they:

  • View a deceased minor
  • Witness
  • Someone’s death or an incident involving someone’s death
  • An injury to someone who then dies before or upon admission to a hospital as a result of the injury
  • A traumatic physical injury that results in the loss of a vital body part or a vital body function that results in the victim’s permanent disfigurement; or carry, or have physical contact with and treat, an injured person who then dies before or upon admission to a hospital

PA 23-35 permits employees to seek recovery through workers’ compensation for qualifying post-traumatic stress injuries to the same extent that first responders in Connecticut are permitted to recover.

For more information, please see the links below:

Public Act (PA) No. 23-35

Official Page

SB 913 Analysis

Article 1, Article 2

What do employers need to do?

The Ogletree Deakins law firm advises employers to review and refine their health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of a “qualifying event” in the workplace. Employers may also want to consider reviewing and familiarizing themselves with applicable Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) standards to ensure compliance in an effort to maximize healthful working conditions in the workplace, and to reduce opportunities for post-traumatic events to occur in the workplace.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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