Presumptions that California lawmakers enacted in 2020 to help determine when the covid-19 contract arose from employment would remain in place for one more year instead of two under a recently amended bill.
The Covid-19 presumptions adopted in the first year of the pandemic are scheduled to decline at the end of this year. AB 1751 would retain the presumption until Jan. 1, 2024, according to amendments passed Thursday.
Previous versions of the bill would have kept the presumptions in place through January 1, 2025.
Meanwhile, lawmakers added language that would expand the presumptions to cover additional first responders including firefighters, active-duty firefighting members and police officers at the state Departments of State Hospitals, Development Services, Military and Veterans Affairs.
The additional workers would be subject to the more generous presumptions that lawmakers created for first responders. They would be entitled to a presumption that covid-19 is compensable if they test positive within 14 days of going to work, and they would be entitled to a presumption that a claim is compensable if it is not denied within 30 days.
The Covid-19 presumption for workers other than designated first responders requires a person to test positive within 14 days of going to a workplace experiencing an outbreak.
An outbreak exists if at least four people at a company with 100 or fewer workers test positive for covid-19 in a 14-day period, or if at least 4% of employees test positive at a company with more than 100 employees. Claims for covid-19 submitted by non-violators are assumed compensable unless denied within 45 days.
California lawmakers also voted last week to send bills to the governor to create a panel to study the economic and occupational effects of high heat and to simplify the procedure for the state’s backstop against insolvent insurance companies requesting bonds to pay for claims.
WorkCompCentral is a sister magazine to Business Insurance. More stories here.