NFL referees' coronavirus deadline to opt-out of 2020 nears, they can get $30,000 for leave of absence

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The NFL referees’ deadline to opt-out of the 2020 season due to health concerns stemming from the ongoing coronavirus outbreak comes Thursday.

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Last week, the NFL Referees Association announced an agreement with the league on health and safety protections and the ability to opt-out of the season if the officials wanted to.

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Any NFL game or replay official who has concerns about the coronavirus can voluntarily take a leave of absence from their 2020 responsibilities. The officials will be able to have their jobs guaranteed for the 2021 season.

Game officials, however, will receive a $30,000 payment if they decide to take the season off.

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“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our members,” NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green said in a news release last week. “Although there will undoubtedly be some risk for our officials, we are pleased to have finalized a plan with the League that provides additional benefits and protections during this unprecedented season.”

If a game official tests positive for coronavirus during the season, the union will treat it as an on-field injury and the individual will be entitled to injury pay, medical expenses and other benefits. If they experience the illness at a game site, the union said that medical expenses, lodging and travel will be covered.

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It’s unclear whether any referees have decided to opt-out of the season.

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