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AB-872 Leave of absence: firefighters.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 09/14/2021 04:00 AM
AB872:v97#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 13, 2021
Passed  IN  Senate  September 08, 2021
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 09, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  September 03, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 872


Introduced by Assembly Member Wood

February 17, 2021


An act to amend Section 19871.3 of the Government Code, and to amend Section 4800 of, and to add Section 4811 to, the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 872, Wood. Leave of absence: firefighters.
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. Among other workers’ compensation benefits, existing law entitles a member of the Department of Justice who comes within the “state peace officer/firefighter” class, a law enforcement officer employed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a harbor police officer employed by the San Francisco Port Commission, as specified, who is disabled by injury arising out of and in the course of the member’s duties, to a leave of absence while so disabled without loss of salary, in lieu of disability payments, for a period not exceeding one year. Under existing law, workers’ compensation benefits, including salary paid in lieu of disability payments, is not taxable income. Existing law also provides for enhanced industrial leave benefits for specified state employees, including members of State Bargaining Unit 8, such as 52 weeks of salary less specified tax and retirement contributions.
This bill would make those enhanced industrial disability leave benefits for specified state employees employed by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection applicable only to injuries that occur prior to January 1, 2022. The bill would instead, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2022, make specified benefits, such as one year of salary in lieu of disability payments, available to all rank-and-file and supervisory firefighters and members of State Bargaining Unit 8 engaged in active fire suppression or prevention employed by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and specified seasonal employees whose principal duties include active fire suppression or prevention services. These benefits would be subject to limitations, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 19871.3 of the Government Code is amended to read:

19871.3.
 (a) If an employee who is a member of State Bargaining Unit 8 is temporarily disabled by illness or injury arising out of and in the course of state employment, they shall receive an enhanced industrial disability leave benefit. The enhanced industrial disability leave benefit shall be equivalent to the injured employee’s net salary, including any increases the employee would have received during the leave. The benefit may not exceed 52 weeks after the date of the occurrence of the injury or illness or until the date the injury or illness is declared permanent and stationary, whichever is earlier.
(b)  Notwithstanding the above 52-week limitation, an employee described in subdivision (a) whose injuries are burn-related may receive the benefit described in subdivision (a) for a period not to exceed 156 weeks after the date of the occurrence of the injury or illness or until the date the injury or illness is declared permanent and stationary, whichever is earlier.
(c)  For purposes of this section, “net salary” means the amount of salary received after federal income tax, state income tax, and the employee’s retirement contribution has been deducted from the employee’s gross salary.
(d) For members of State Bargaining Unit 8 who are either rank-and-file firefighters and supervisory firefighters who are employees of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection or employees of the department whose principal duties include active fire suppression or prevention services, this section only shall apply to injuries that occur prior to January 1, 2022.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4800 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

4800.
 (a) Whenever any member of the Department of Justice falling within the “state peace officer/firefighter” class is disabled by injury arising out of and in the course of the member’s duties, that member is entitled, regardless of the member’s period of service with the Department of Justice, to a leave of absence while so disabled without loss of salary, in lieu of disability payments under this chapter, for a period not exceeding one year. This section applies only to members of the Department of Justice whose principal duties consist of active law enforcement and does not apply to persons employed in the Department of Justice whose principal duties are those of telephone operator, clerk, stenographer, machinist, mechanic, or otherwise clearly not falling within the scope of active law enforcement service, even though this person is subject to occasional call or is occasionally called upon to perform duties within the scope of active law enforcement service.
(b) This section applies to law enforcement officers employed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife who are described in subdivision (e) of Section 830.2 of the Penal Code.
(c) This section applies to harbor police officers employed by the San Francisco Port Commission who are described in Section 20402 of the Government Code.
(d) This section applies to all rank-and-file firefighter and supervisory firefighters who are employees of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and members of State Bargaining Unit 8 who are employees of the department and whose principal duties include active fire suppression or prevention services.
(e) This section does not apply to periods of disability that occur subsequent to termination of employment by resignation, retirement, or dismissal. When this section does not apply, the employee is eligible for those benefits that would apply if this section had not been enacted.

SEC. 3.

 Section 4811 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

4811.
 (a) This section shall only apply to employees of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
(b) Rank-and-file firefighters and supervisory firefighters who are employees of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and members of State Bargaining Unit 8 and whose principal duties consist of active fire suppression or prevention services shall be eligible for benefits pursuant to Section 4800 for injuries sustained on or after January 1, 2022. This subdivision also applies to seasonal employees of the department whose principal duties consist of active fire suppression or prevention services.
(c) An employee shall not obtain benefits described in Section 4800 for more than 52 weeks, or 156 weeks if the injury is burn related, in total during the period the employee would otherwise be eligible for temporary disability benefits pursuant to Section 4656.
(d) An employee shall only receive benefits pursuant to Section 4800 during the time period for which they would normally be employed by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. An employee may be eligible for temporary disability benefits based on their amount of off-season earnings obtained for the duration of their typical off season. If a seasonal employee would have been rehired, but for their industrial injury for a season subsequent to the date of injury, and the benefit under Section 4800 has not been exhausted, that individual is entitled to that benefit.