Gavin Newsom, California's chief of staff, on Thursday signed legislation to make it easier for frontline workers to receive workers' compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 at work and require employers to immediately report potential coronavirus outbreaks to public health authorities.
SB 1159 creates an assumption that first-time persons, healthcare professionals and police officers who test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of performing work or services received the virus at work and are entitled to compensation for workers, unless their Employers can show that they contracted the virus elsewhere.
The law requires that employees who have paid sick leave must empty these benefits before any temporary disability benefit can be paid. It also stipulates that the State Commission on Health and Safety and Labor Compensation conducts a study on the effect that COVID-1
In May, the Newsom government issued an executive order which created a COVID-19 rebuttable presumption for workers contracting COVID-19 at work, which was extended to 16 different classes of workers deemed "necessary". The order expired in July.
A.B. 685 requires employers to report potential outbreaks of COVID-19 in their workplaces to public health officials within one business day after learning of the potential exposure. The law also requires employers to report known cases to workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19 within one business day and authorizes the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to close workplaces due to COVID-19 risks.
Both laws enter into force immediately and expire on January 1, 2023.
More news on insurance and work compensation on the coronavirus crisis here .