Worker’s Compensation Executive Order

On May 6, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order creating a rebuttable presumption that an employee who is working outside the home at the direction of the employer and who contracts COVID-19 incurs a work-related injury for purposes of workers’ compensation.

Key elements of the order are as follows:

  1. A rebuttable presumption of work-related injury.
  2. Applies to all workers who are working outside the home at the direction of their employer. The executive order is not restricted to essential workers.
  3. Eligibility threshold to be a positive test for COVID-19 or a diagnosis by a physician or surgeon licensed by the California Medical Board. If a diagnosis, the diagnosis must be confirmed by a positive test within 30 days. 
  4. Apportionment applies.
  5. Time for the employer to deny claim reduced from current 90 days to 30 days.
  6. Temporary disability payments start only after worker uses all other state or federal sick leave benefits. 
  7. Department of Industrial Relations will not require or accept a “no beneficiary” death benefit.
  8. Re-testing every 15 days during first 45 days of temporary disability payments.
  9. Claims to be for injuries from March 19 to June 5. Essentially a 4-month claims period.
  10. Benefits do not include temporary housing or personal protection equipment.