On May 6, 2020 Governor Newsom signed an executive order that provides immediate relief to all essential workers who have been or will be diagnosed with COVID-19 during the covered period. The order enacts a rebuttable presumption that presumes a worker filing a workers’ compensation claim for COVID-19 contracted the disease while on the job. The order covers all essential service workers and will be applied retroactively beginning March 19, 2020, the date of Governor Newsom’s first shelter-in-place order, expiring 60 days from today.
Workers’ compensation benefits covered under the order include temporary disability for up to 2 years, permanent disability benefits for any long-term/permanent injuries or disability caused by COVID-19, and death benefits including $10,000 in funeral expenses and anywhere between 120,000 to $250,000 or more (depending on number of minor dependents at time of death).
The order also shortens the time employers have to accept claims from 90 days to 30 days, significantly expediting the processing of benefits for sick workers.
The California workers’ compensation system might be the only remedy for some workers who may not have employer-sponsored health insurance or may not have a viable health plan that would cover such a disease without leaving them bankrupt.
This order will help protect our frontline heroes and ensure that all essential employees who contract COVID-19 while on the job can get fast and effective health care through no expense of their own.