The New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed H.B. 1166. If voted into law, this legislation would require the state to provide free personal protective equipment to small employers, eliminate cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment, and extend paid time off for leaves due to coronavirus.
The bill would implement more requirements for employers, including making them provide paid time off for COVID-19 testing, offer personal protective equipment in all workplaces that employ 10 or more workers or customers on a regular basis. The bill would also mandate that employers strictly comply with state and federal COVID-19 safety and prevention guidance.
For insurers, the legislation instructs companies to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for policyholders who are also New Hampshire residents. This is designed to include any out-of-network charges.
Lastly, the bill recognizes the lack of federal worker safety standards and would ask New Hampshire’s labor commissioner to adopt worker safety rules to protect workers from COVID-19, with a deadline of August 1, 2020, and require the state offers personal protective equipment to all employers who request the equipment, providing such equipment for free to employers who employ 15 or fewer workers.
Access the text of the bill here.
The bill would extend unemployment compensation to employers temporarily shut down due to coronavirus, employees who are quarantined by a medical professional or under government direction, and those who leave employment due to a reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. The legislation would also extend the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requiring employers with at least 15 or more workers to offer FMLA leave for COVID-19-related reasons unless the employer can demonstrate economic hardship in offering leave for employees. The current FMLA threshold is 50 workers.