January 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 19


January 18, 2021

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California COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption Expired on July 5, 2020—Will It Be Revived?

On May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued Executive Order (EO) N-62-20, creating a temporary rebuttable presumption that employees working outside of their homes who test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, may receive workers’ compensation benefits. In doing so, the governor simplified the process for sick employees to seek certain wage replacement benefits, and therefore sought to encourage ill employees to stay home to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the state, it has gone almost entirely unnoticed that the rebuttable presumption created by EO N-62-20 expired on July 5, 2020. The executive order stated that “[t]his presumption shall only apply to dates of injury occurring through 60 days following the date of this [o]rder.” In addition, any employee who tested positive or received a COVID-19 diagnosis “within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment” was covered by the presumption. As a result, a positive test result or diagnosis through at least 14 days after the order’s expiration could arguably entitle the employee to assert the presumption.

What Happens Next?

Whether the COVID-19-related rebuttable presumption will be revived remains to be seen. Until that time, the presumption will fall away but employees who test positive for COVID-19 while performing work outside the home may still seek workers’ compensation benefits. Without the presumption, these employees will be required to prove causation from work—for example, that they were in close contact to other employees, customers, or vendors who later tested positive for COVID-19 or were otherwise exposed to a person with COVID-19.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 198



About this Author

Karen Tynan, employment lawyer, Ogletree Deakins
Of Counsel

Karen Tynan is an of counsel attorney in the Sacramento office of Ogletree Deakins. Karen is originally from the state of Georgia, and after graduating with honors from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, she worked for Chevron Shipping Company for ten years – sailing as a ship's officer on oil tankers rising to the rank of Chief Officer with her Unlimited Master’s License as well as San Francisco Bay pilotage endorsement.  Karen was the highest ranking woman in the Chevron fleet when she left her seafaring life.  This maritime and petroleum experience is unique among employment...

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Paul Smith Employment Lawyer California Ogletree Deakins

Paul Smith is an associate in the Sacramento Office of Ogletree Deakins. He crafts a practical, client-based approach to the defense of his clients in employment disputes spanning state and federal court, administrative proceedings, and arbitration.

Paul has experience working with small and large employers in matters of single and multi-plaintiff wage and hour disputes. He has also represented employers against allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and unfair labor practices.

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