October 27, 2020

Volume X, Number 301

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October 27, 2020

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October 26, 2020

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Amended Workers’ Compensation Benefits for COVID-19 Positive Employees

Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1159 (“SB 1159”) on September 17, 2020, which could expand the definition of injury under the workers’ compensation system to include illness or death resulting from COVID-19. In May, the governor had issued an executive order which created a presumption that any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment to award workers’ compensation benefits if certain conditions were met. However, this Executive order expired in July.

Similar to the prior Executive Order, SB 1159 creates a disputable presumption that COVID-19 injuries arose out of and in the course of employment and are compensable. The bill also makes a claim relating to a COVID-19 illness presumptively compensable, as described above, after 30 days or 45 days, rather than 90 days.

The bill also allows for the presumption of injury for employees whose coworkers test positive for COVID-19. This presumption will remain in effect until January 1, 2023.

As this bill includes an urgency clause, it goes into effect immediately.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 261
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About this Author

Michael D. Drenan Employment Law Jackson Lewis San Diego, CA
Principal

Michael D. Drenan is a Principal in the San Diego, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. For over 25 years, he has counseled and represented employers in such matters as wrongful discharge, tort claims related to employment, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, unfair competition cases, and wage and hour matters.

Mr. Drenan advises, represents, and defends employers in various areas of employment law and employment litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. He also has extensive experience representing employers with...

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