Yesterday, an executive order was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom to effectively streamline workers’ compensation claims for essential employees who contract COVID-19.
Under this executive order, essential employees in California who are diagnosed within two weeks of reporting to work between March 19 and July 5 will be presumed to have contracted COVID-19 on the job. This shifts the burden of proof that typically falls on an employee and instead requires companies or insurers to prove the employee didn’t get sick at work. The executive order is in place for 60 days and is retroactive to March 19th.
“PPOA, along with our fellow first responders are grateful for Governor Newsom’s action today. It gives us all a sense of certainty,” stated PPOA President Tab Rhodes. “I also want to acknowledge our Sacramento legislative firm, Lang, Hansen, O’Malley & Miller, who have worked with PPOA for the last two months regarding COVID-19 issues such as this.” Additionally, the PPOA board is thankful for the efforts and support on this issue, provided by the Law Offices of James J. Cunningham as well as our workers compensation firms: Lewis, Marenstein, Wicke, Sherwin & Lee and Straussner Sherman.
Key provisions of the executive order include the following:
- Removes burdens of access to workers’ compensation for all employees risking their health and safety to deliver critical services outside their home during the statewide stay-at-home order.
- Creates a time-limited emergency workers’ compensation benefit (rebuttable presumption) that COVID-19 was contracted at a workplace.
- The presumption will stay in place for 60-days after the issuance of the executive order.
For a comprehensive list of COVID-19 updates for PPOA members, please click here.