ECA sponsored a webinar May 19, focused on Governor Newsom’s Executive Order (N-62- 20), which adds coronavirus illness of your employee to the list of causes for a workers’ compensation claim—and it’s a reportable claim that could increase your premiums on WC insurance.
The webinar, with 32 online attendees, featured presenters from the ECA-member law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo including partners Anthony P. Niccoli, Ann K. Smith, Robert Fried, Jonathan S. Vick, Christopher S. Andre, and Bruce Wick, Director of Risk Management from the California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors.
This new wrinkle doesn’t only apply to contractors, but all employers, with this presumption:
Any employee who performed work outside the employee’s residence on or after March 19, 2020, who is diagnosed with a test-confirmed COVID-19 illness will be presumptively eligible for full workers’ compensation benefits. The order applies to employees diagnosed with COVID-19 related illness from March 19, 2020, to July 5, 2020.
It also spells out specific requirements relating to the disease being employment-related:
The place of employment was NOT the employee’s home or residence; and
The COVID-19 diagnosis was made by a physician who holds a physician and surgeon license issued by the California Medical Board AND the diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis; and
The COVID-19 diagnosis was made within 14 days after the last day the employee worked at the employer’s direction; and
The work at the employer’s location occurred on or after March 19, 2020
Don’t pay too much attention to that July 5 end date as it will likely change to include future dates—and doesn’t speak to how far in the future this disease is likely to be a workers’ comp claim cause. If this is not enough, you may also have to “record” the injury on your Cal/OSHA300 log if the illness is work-related like any other on-the-job injury if it meets the recording requirements
For those of you who are inclined to fight workers’ comp claims, the order says you have 30-days, not 90, and while you can dispute the claim, you must present relevant evidence backing your position. The order covers the insurance carriers, who must provide coverage of the treatment of this disease. It also says those companies can raise premiums to cover the cost of covering the treatment and disability claims.
You can find the slides from the webinar and other up-to-date information coronavirus complications at: //ecasocal.org/eca-coronavirus-covid-19-updates/
By Ray Baca Executive Director Email: [email protected]