COVID-19 HAS JUST BECOME A WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM AGAINST YOUR COMPANY

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COVID-19 HAS JUST BECOME A WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM AGAINST YOUR COMPANY

On May 6, 2020 Governor Newsom has issued the Executive Order N-62-20 on Workers’ Compensation.  The provisions of the order are:

ANY COVID-19 RELATED ILLNESS OF AN EMPLOYEE SHALL BE PRESUMED TO ARISE OUT OF AND IN THE COURSE OF THE EMPLOYMENT FOR PURPOSES OF AWARDING WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS IF THEY MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIAS:

1. Workers may file a claim for Workers’ Compensation based on the following:

  • They have been directed to work at a worksite outside of their home or residence by their employer.
  • Employees who test or are diagnosed positive within 14 days of working at the worksite starting from March 19, 2020 (tested dated or diagnosed date starting from) and then confirmed either by a physician with a positive test conducted within 30 days of the diagnosis.

2. The employee is presumed to have contracted COVID-19 from their outside worksite unless the employer can:

  • Provide clear evidence showing the illness occurred outside the employment.
  • The employer only has 30 days to rebut the presumption, instead of the usual 90 days for regular workers’ compensation claims.

3. Employer must dispute and reject liability within 30 days after the date of the claim is filed pursuant to Labor Code 5401, the illness will be presumed compensable, unless rebutted by evidence discovered after the 30-day period.

4. Temporary disability benefits:

  • If employee has any paid sick leave specifically available in response to COVID19, the employee must use those benefits first before temporary disability benefits kick in.  If employee does not have paid sick leave benefits, then there must be no waiting period for temporary disability benefits to start.
  • The employee must be certified for temporary disability benefits within 15 days of diagnosis, and recertified every 15 days, for the first 45 days of the illness.

5. Employer must dispute and reject liability within 30 days after the date of the claim is filed pursuant to Labor Code 5401, the illness will be presumed compensable, unless rebutted by evidence discovered after the 30-day period.

6. The Executive Order is silent about these claims affecting the employer’s Experience Modification. This means that the employer’s Exp Mod may be subject to increases that can affect work comp. insurance renewal rates.

To see the full executive order CLICK HERE

If you would like to review your legal options as an employer, please contact Kevin at: 530.320.3617.

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The information contained on this website is general in nature and should be not considered the dispensing of legal, medical, tax, accounting, engineering or any other professional advice.  All opinions provided are solely that of the provider and not from The Contractors Resource Center and related entities.  In all cases, you should consult with professional advisors familiar with your particular factual situation for advice concerning specific matters before making any decisions.

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