The governor of California has signed new laws impacting workers' compensation. The resources below will help California employers understand and comply with new regulations regarding COVID-19.

Image by Daniel McCullough

California COVID-19 Employer Resources

(3 MINUTE READ)

Effective Immediately: Employers must notify workers' compensation carriers of ALL employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Steps to notify:

  • Contact Global Risk and request form CA SB 1159

  • Complete a form for every employee who has tested positive for COVID-19

    • A "positive test" according to the law includes any test approved by the FDA for emergency use. This does not include an antibody test​.

    • For the purpose of notification, a "specific place of employment" does not include an employee's home or residence

    • The notification requirement applies retroactively to all employees who have tested positive on or after July 6, 2020

  • Return form to Global Risk

What is SB 1159?

 

California Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is the first of two bills the Governor of California recently signed into law that change how employers and workers' compensation carriers in the state of California address COVID-19 cases and claims.

SB 1159 expands access to workers’ compensation so that first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work get support, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. The bill does this in several ways, including defining an “injury” to an employee to include illness or death from COVID-19, and creating a “rebuttable presumption” for these groups of employees. It also requires that employers notify their insurance carriers and/or third-party administrators of employee positive COVID-19 tests in writing to help identify outbreaks at workplaces.

The second bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 685, requires timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification mandates that workers take necessary precautions such as testing, seeking medical help and/or complying with quarantine directives.

Together, the bills make up the governor’s “worker protection package” and supersede the Governor’s earlier executive order. The statutes take effect immediately and remain in effect through January 1, 2023.

Frequently asked questions:

When does this new process take effect?

Please start using the form immediately. The form is also required retroactively for all positive tests beginning July 6, 2020. The statute specifies those retroactive notifications are due no later than October 17, 2020.

Do I need to fill out a form for every case?

Yes - every case requires its own form for notification.

If I previously used the form to notify you of a positive test for a work-related case, do I need to file a claim?

Yes, the law requires the notifications to include different information from a claim report, so both are needed.

Do I need to submit a notification via the form if I have already submitted a claim?

Yes, the law requires the notifications to include different information from a claim report, so both are needed.

Do I need to submit a notification of a positive test if the employee is not alleging that their positive test is work related?

Yes. The notification is required even if the employee’s case isn’t work-related.

The bill states for purposes of this type of reporting, the employer shall not provide any personally identifiable information. What information is needed?

The notification form includes all of the required information.

For more information, visit the California legislative information site to read the bills: