Bill Text

PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-553 Workers’ compensation: return-to-work program.(2017-2018)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 08/17/2018 12:10 PM
AB553:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 17, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  August 06, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 24, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 30, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 553


Introduced by Assembly Member Daly

February 14, 2017


An act to amend Section 139.48 of the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 553, as amended, Daly. Workers’ compensation: return-to-work program.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment. Under the workers’ compensation system, existing law establishes a return-to-work program for the purpose of making supplemental payments to workers whose permanent disability benefits are disproportionately low in comparison to their earnings loss. Existing law funds this program with $120,000,000 per year derived from the Workers’ Compensation Administration Revolving Fund. Existing law requires the director to determine eligibility for the payments and the amount of payments, as specified. Existing law also creates a supplemental job displacement benefit for injured employees.
This bill would require the director to have the program distribute, by April 1 of each year, commencing January 1, 2020, the $120,000,000 annually to eligible workers on the basis of equal shares for each eligible worker. The bill would codify the regulations governing eligibility for the payment which make a worker who is eligible to receive a supplemental job displacement benefit eligible to receive this payment. The bill would also require the employer to notify the director and the worker, in the manner adopted by the director, of the worker’s eligibility for this payment and would make the failure of an employer to provide that notice a violation that is subject to specified penalties. payment. The bill would prohibit a person, including an attorney, from collecting a fee or commission for providing assistance to a worker to apply for benefits provided by the program.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 139.48 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

139.48.
 (a) There is in the department a return-to-work program administered by the director, funded by one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) annually derived from non-General Funds of the Workers’ Compensation Administration Revolving Fund, for the purpose of making supplemental payments to workers whose permanent disability benefits are disproportionately low in comparison to their earnings loss. Moneys shall remain available for use by the return-to-work program without respect to the fiscal year.
(b) Eligibility for payments and the amount of payments shall be determined by regulations adopted by the director, based on findings from studies conducted by the director in consultation with the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation. Determinations of the director shall be subject to review at the trial level of the appeals board upon the same grounds as prescribed for petitions for reconsideration.
(c) A worker who is eligible to receive a supplemental job displacement benefit pursuant to Section 4658.7 is eligible to receive the payment established by this section. Notwithstanding this subdivision, the director may establish additional bases of eligibility pursuant to subdivision (b).
(d) (1) The director shall have the program distribute the one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) annually to eligible workers pursuant to subdivision (f).
(e) (1)The employer shall notify the director and the worker, in the manner adopted by the director, of the worker’s eligibility for the payment established by this section. The notice required by this subdivision shall be sent when the supplemental job displacement benefit described in subdivision (c) is issued.

(2)The failure of the employer to timely notify the director or the worker pursuant to this subdivision is a violation of Section 5814.

(f) Commencing January 1, 2020, the director shall distribute, by April 1 of each year, the one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) to eligible workers on the basis of equal shares for each eligible worker.
(g) A person, including an attorney, may not collect a fee or commission for providing assistance to a worker to apply for benefits provided by payments provided pursuant to this section.