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AB-196 Workers’ compensation: COVID-19: essential occupations and industries.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/25/2020 08:39 PM
AB196:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 25, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 05, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 196


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez

January 10, 2019


An act to add Section 3213.5 to the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 196, as amended, Gonzalez. Workers’ compensation: COVID-19: essential occupations and industries.
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 employment. Existing law creates a disputable presumption that specified injuries sustained in the course of employment of a specified member of law enforcement or a specified first responder arose out of and in the course of employment. Existing law establishes procedures for filing a workers’ compensation claim, including a 90-day investigatory period prior to acceptance or denial. Existing law presumes a claim is accepted if it is not denied within the first 90 days after filing.
This bill would define “injury,” for certain employees who are employed in an occupation or industry deemed essential in the Governor’s Executive Order of March 19, 2020 (Executive Order N-33-20), except as specified, or who are subsequently deemed essential, to include coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that develops or manifests itself during a period of employment of those persons in the essential occupation or industry. The bill would apply to injuries occurring on or after March 1, 2020, would create a conclusive disputable presumption, as specified, that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment, and would extend that presumption following termination of service for a period of 90 days, commencing with the last date actually worked. The bill would shorten the investigatory timeframe for denial or presumed acceptance of a claim to 30 days, rather than 90 days.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 3213.5 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

3213.5.
 (a) In the case of an employee, other than a person described in subdivision (b), who is employed in an occupation or industry deemed essential in the Governor’s Executive Order of March 19, 2020 (Executive Order N-33-20), as an essential critical infrastructure worker and is exempt from the requirements imposed by Executive Order N-33-20 or any other statewide stay-at-home order, or who is subsequently deemed essential, the term “injury,” as used in this section, includes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that develops or manifests itself during a period of the person’s employment in the essential occupation or industry.
(b) This section does not apply to any of the following persons:
(1) Active firefighting members, whether volunteers, partly paid, or fully paid, of all of the following fire departments:
(A) A fire department of a city, county, city and county, district, or other public or municipal corporation or political subdivision.
(B) A fire department of the University of California and the California State University.
(C) The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
(D) A county forestry or firefighting department or unit.
(2) Peace officers, as defined in Section 830 of the Penal Code.
(3) Health care employees who provide direct patient care in an acute care hospital, as defined in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code.
(4) Fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services.
(c) The compensation awarded for an injury described in subdivision (a) shall include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, as provided by this division.
(d) The injury described in subdivision (a) so developing or manifesting itself shall be conclusively presumed to arise out of and in the course of employment. This presumption is disputable and may be controverted by other evidence. Unless controverted, the appeals board is bound to find in accordance with the presumption.
(e) The presumption described in subdivision (d) shall be extended to the employee following termination of service for a period of 90 days, commencing with the last date actually worked.
(f) This section applies to an injury that occurs on or after March 1, 2020.
(g) (1) The presumption described in subdivision (d) shall apply if the employee has tested positive for, or was diagnosed with, COVID-19 within 14 days after a date that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction. For the purpose of this subdivision, an “employee’s place of employment” does not include an employee’s home or residence.
(2) The diagnosis shall be performed by a physician and surgeon licensed by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, or a state licensed physician assistant or nurse practitioner acting under the review or supervision of a physician and surgeon pursuant to standardized procedures or protocols within their lawfully authorized scope of practice, and that diagnosis shall be confirmed by COVID-19 serological testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.
(h) Notwithstanding Section 5402, if liability for a claim of a COVID-19-related illness pursuant to this section is not rejected within 30 days after the date the claim form is filed under Section 5401, the illness shall be presumed compensable. This presumption is rebuttable only by evidence discovered subsequent to the 30-day period.