SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – Illinois Senate passes law extending protection measures for first responders and essential workers for another six months.

The law established back in the spring allows essential workers and first responders to file for workers' compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 during the course of their employment.

State Senator Bill Cunningham led the Illinois Senate in the decision of the extension.

"This law was a fair compromise that protects workers without unduly burdening businesses," said Cunningham.

"It encourages businesses to protect their employees to the best of their ability and gives workers who aren't protected more resources to help them recover."

Cunningham's measure also extends laws that increase the recovery period for certain injured public employees and provides death benefits to certain police and firefighters who die from COVID-19 contracted in the line of duty.

"We all need to thank our first responders and essential workers for their incredible dedication and sacrifice during this crisis," Cunningham said. "They've helped Illinois, and so many of its residents make it through this terrible situation."

The measure, House Bill 4276, now goes to the Illinois House for final consideration.

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