Employees who meet the criteria will no longer have to prove that they contracted coronavirus at work.
As coronavirus sweeps across the nation, millions of Americans have switched to working remotely. Yet for many employees who have been deemed “essential,” this simply isn’t an option, as their work requires them to be at their job site or office. This can put them at risk of contracting coronavirus.
One of the challenges facing many essential employees who test positive for COVID-19 is proving that they contracted it as a result of their work in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. After all, an employer is only responsible to pay these benefits for work-related illnesses and injuries. Because of the nature of the virus, it is almost impossible to prove that a person contracted the illness at work, as opposed to another way, such as at the grocery store or from a loved one.
As a California workers’ compensation attorney can explain, employees will no longer have to find a way to prove something that may be unprovable. In early May, Governor Newsom issued
Executive Order N-62-20. This order creates a rebuttable presumption that employees with COVID-19-related illnesses who meet certain criteria contracted it at work. This shifts the burden to the employer to prove that an employee did not contract the virus at work.
To take advantage of this rebuttable presumption, an employee must have tested positive or be diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after working at their job at the direction of their employer. People who work from home do not qualify for this presumption. The date of injury must be between March 19, 2020 and July 5, 2020. This executive order is part of California’s Expanded Workforce Safety Net, which is designed to ensure that employees are protected during this time.
In practice, Executive Order N-62-20 means that employees who have a confirmed COVID-19 illness will be eligible for a range of workers’ compensation benefits, including medical treatment and temporary disability benefits. For example, if a grocery store clerk is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can submit a workers’ compensation claim when they receive a positive test. Their illness will be presumed to be work-related, unless their employer submits evidence within 30 days to demonstrate that the virus was contracted in another way. In this way, more California workers will have the benefit of the system that was designed to protect them.
If you have suffered a workplace illness or injury, including a COVID-19 diagnosis, a skilled California workers’ compensation attorney can help you file for benefits and appeal any denial of benefits. At PLBSH, our team of employment lawyers is dedicated to assisting workers with a range of issues, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and workers’ compensation. Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or email@example.com to schedule a free initial consultation.