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CA Workers Who Contract COVID-19 Will Be Covered by Workers' Compensation

CA Workers Who Contract COVID-19 Will Be Covered by Workers' Compensation

May 6, 2020 - California's Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed Executive Order N-62-20 today. Click the link for the text of that Order. For a brief summary, see below.

The Order states

  • employees who report to their places of employment are often exposed to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19
  • employees who report to work while sick increase health and safety risks for themselves and others with whom they come into contact
  • prompt and efficient treatment will be realized by facilitating access to this state’s workers’ compensation system for medical treatment and disability benefits
  • the provision of workers’ compensation benefits will reduce the spread of COVID-19 thereby promoting public health and safety

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 all of the following requirements are satisfied (in summary):

  • The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID19 within 14 days after a day the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction;
  • The day they worked was on or after March 19, 2020;
  • The place of employment was not the employee’s home or residence;
  • The diagnosis of COVID-19 was done by a physician who holds a physician and surgeon license issued by the California Medical Board and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.

The presumption that a Worker contracted the virus at work is disputable, but unless controverted, the presumption will stand. This presumption shall only apply to dates of injury occurring through 60 days following the date of the Order (so date of injury must be between March 19 and July 5).

Employee will be eligible for all benefits applicable under the workers’ compensation laws of this state, including full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits.

Where an employee has paid sick leave benefits specifically available in response to COVID-19, those benefits shall be used and exhausted before any temporary disability benefits or benefits under Labor Code section 4850 are due and payable. Where an employee does not have such sick leave benefits, the employee shall be provided temporary disability benefits or Labor Code section 4850 benefits if applicable, from the date of disability. In no event shall there be a waiting period for temporary disability benefits.

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