Legislative update: California employers, worker’s compensation, and COVID-19

Yesterday we learned that the California Legislature has plans to extend Governor Newsom’s Executive Order related to COVID-19 and worker’s comp claims.

If signed into law, COVID-19 “outbreaks” in places of employment would automatically be eligible for worker’s compensation claims. This would apply not only to frontline jobs like doctors and nurses, but to all places of employment.

Here are a few top line takeaways all CA employers need to know:

  • • An “outbreak” would be defined as four or more employees testing positive for COVID-19 within a 2-week period—for workplaces of 100 employees and fewer.
  • • For workplaces over 100 employees, the threshold would be 4% of the workforce within a 2-week period.
  • • If a workplace is shut down by Cal/OSHA, the law will consider this an outbreak and the regulations will apply.

If this legislation is signed into law, it will impact almost every California employer and could drastically increase future worker’s comp premiums.

The law does include some provisions to protect employers who take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, however, it does favor the employee and puts a lot of the burden of proof on employers to present evidence that an employee was not exposed to COVID-19 at work and may have had non-occupational exposure.

Click here to read about the proposed law in greater detail.

If you are concerned about how this law could impact your business, we’ve got worker’s compensation insurance experts who are happy to speak with you.