California Workers Comp Will Now Cover Getting COVID on the Job

LOS ANGELES—As California begins “Stage 2” in its process of reopening businesses in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that workers who believe they have contracted coronavirus infection as a result of being at work will now qualify for workers compensation benefits, according to statement issued by the governor’s office. “We are removing a burden for workers on the front lines, who risk their own health and safety to deliver critical services to our fellow Californians, so that they can access benefits, and be able to focus on their recovery,” Newsom said in the statement, after signing an executive order to extend the program. “Workers’ compensation is a critical piece to reopening the state and it will help workers get the care they need to get healthy, and in turn, protect public health.” California’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 19. Employees who went to a workplace after that date and are diagnosed with COVID-19 — the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus infection — within 14 days of a day at work are now eligible for workers comp under Newsom’s order, as long as the COVID diagnosis is confirmed by a positive test. Newsom’s order places the burden on employers to prove that an employee became infected somewhere other than the workplace, which has led to pushback from some business owners, according to a Sacramento Bee report.  “Imposing a legal presumption that any employee who contracts the coronavirus is covered by workers’ compensation benefits shifts the cost of this pandemic to employers,” the California Chamber of Commerce responded in a statement quoted by The Bee. “The private sector did not cause this crisis and it should not be the safety net used to pay for this crisis — that is the role of government.” Newsom said that the purpose of the executive order was to allow workers who contract coronavirus to stay home without fearing for their income or their jobs.  “The worst thing we can do is have a worker that has tested positive, but doesn’t want to tell anybody, and can spread the disease because he or she can’t afford not to work,” Newsom said, as quoted by KABC-TV News.  Newsom also announced a new state COVID-19 informational website, which contains locations of testing sites for Californians, which may be reached at this link.  Photo By Steve Jurvetson / Wikimedia Commons 

written by: Michael French

source: California Workers Comp Will Now Cover Getting COVID on the Job | AVN