Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

May 11, 2023

Looney, Kushner Lead Passage of Workers’ Comp Coverage for PTSI in Any Employee

HARTFORD – Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) today led the bipartisan and unanimous Senate passage of a bill that will extend 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.

Senate Bill 913, “AN ACT EXPANDING WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVERAGE FOR POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS INJURIES FOR ALL EMPLOYEES” passed the state Senate today on a unanimous and bipartisan 36-0 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. The bill had previously passed the Labor Committee on a 10-1 vote and the Appropriations Committee on a 53-0 vote.

“Providing post-traumatic stress coverage for all workers is not just a matter of compassion, but a vital investment in the well-being and productivity of employees,” said Sen. Looney. “Traumatic events can have a profound impact on individuals, causing psychological distress and impairing their ability to work. By providing workers’ compensation coverage, we acknowledge the disabling reality of psychological injury and recognize the long-lasting effects of trauma.”

“Before I came to the Senate, I represented workers for 42 years in a variety of different types of workplaces. During that time, on occasion, we lost a member to a workplace tragedy. In one instance, a worker in a corrugated box manufacturing plant lost his life – he got trapped in a machine. It was really a horrible death. The trauma of the people who worked beside him was extreme. Another time, a man stepped backwards off a platform and fell to his death down a freight elevator shaft,” Sen. Kushner said. “Our union provided some specialized assistance for dealing with that type of trauma, and it gave me a real appreciation of how impactful these events can be. I brought forth this bill because I believe every worker should have some help and assistance when faced with these unique circumstances. Today, we are moving forward on an incredibly important issue for all workers in Connecticut.”

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.

Under S.B. 913 — if it is approved by the House and signed into law by Governor Lamont — 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 despite 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 (a) someone’s death or an incident involving someone’s death, (b) an injury to someone who then dies before or upon admission to a hospital as a result of the injury, or (c) 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.