Recently, two very important acts regarding California Workers Compensation and COVID-19 were signed into law.
On September 17th, 2020 Gavin Newsome signed into law Senate Bill 1159, which creates three statues in regards to workers compensation benefits for COVID-19 claims.
- This new law now includes illness or death resulting from COVID-19, under specified circumstances, as an “occupational injury” and is eligible for workers compensation benefits.
- Takes place immediately until January 1st, 2023
- Employers must report any COVID-19 cases to their claims administration
This new law creates a presumption that an employee who reports COVID-19 symptoms contracted the virus at their workplace. This presumption is only valid if the employee contracted the virus during a workplace outbreak and was present in their workplace in the 14 days before taking their COVID-19 test.
An “outbreak” exists if, within 14 calendar days, one of the following occurs
at a specific place of employment:
(A) If the employer has 100 employees or fewer at a specific place of employment, 4
employees test positive for COVID-19.
(B) If the employer has more than 100 employees at a specific place of employment,
4 percent of the number of employees who reported to the specific place of
employment, test positive for COVID-19.
(C) A specific place of employment is ordered to close by a local public health
department, the State Department of Public Health, the Division of Occupational
Safety and Health, or a school superintendent due to a risk of infection with COVID19.
Bill AB-685 will go into effect on 01/01/2021. This will require employers to do the following:
- Notify employees, in writing, of any potential exposure to COVID-19 from a “qualifying individual” within 1 business day
- Include instructions to contact the local health department for testing
- Instructions for home quarantine, isolation, and monitoring of symptoms
- Available rights under state and federal laws
- Safety plans
CA SB1159 Legislation requires employers with five or more employees to report
positive COVID-19 tests to their Claim Administrator within three business days of
receiving employee notification.