Bill Text


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

AB-664 Workers’ compensation: injury: COVID-19.(2019-2020)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 08/25/2020 10:20 PM
AB664:v93#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 25, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  July 31, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 18, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 05, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  April 17, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 13, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 664


Introduced by Assembly Members Cooper, Bonta, and Gonzalez
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry and McCarty)
(Principal coauthors: Senators Hueso and Umberg)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bloom, Boerner Horvath, Burke, Cervantes, Chau, Chen, Chiu, Flora, Gloria, Kalra, Lackey, Low, Mathis, Medina, Petrie-Norris, Ramos, Rodriguez, Voepel, Waldron, and Wicks)
(Coauthors: Senators Galgiani, Lena Gonzalez, Melendez, and Stern)

February 15, 2019


An act to amend Sections 4663, 6401, 6401 and 6403 of, and to add Section 3212.18 to, and repeal Section 3212.18 of, the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 664, as amended, Cooper. Workers’ compensation: injury: communicable disease. COVID-19.
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 allows for a claim to be presumed compensable if it has not been rejected within 90 days of filing, as specified.

Existing law also makes an employer liable only for the percentage of permanent disability directly caused by the injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment. Existing law requires apportionment of permanent disability to be based on causation, and requires a physician’s report addressing the issue of permanent disability to include an apportionment determination in order for the report to be considered complete on that issue. Existing law exempts certain injuries, including the above-described injuries, from the provisions requiring apportionment.

Existing law imposes a duty on an employer to provide certain safety materials and adopt safety practices as necessary. A failure to meet this duty, under specified circumstances, is a misdemeanor.
This bill would would, until July 1, 2024, define “injury,” for certain state and local firefighting personnel, peace officers, certain hospital employees, correctional and law enforcement personnel, as described, certain health care employees who provide direct patient care at an acute care hospital, and certain fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services to include being exposed to or contracting, on or after January 1, 2020, a communicable disease, including COVID-19 that is the subject of a state public health emergency that is issued on or after January 1, 2020. illness or death resulting from COVID-19, that is diagnosed on or after January 1, 2020, if certain circumstances apply. The bill would create a disputable presumption, as specified, that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment. The bill would require a claim to be presumed compensable, if not rejected within 30 days, as specified. The bill would apply to injuries that occurred prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. The bill would also exempt these provisions from the apportionment requirements.
This bill would explicitly add emergency equipment or personal protective equipment, as described, to those materials required to be provided by an employer personal protective equipment, as defined. A failure to comply with provision of personal protective equipment employer. A failure to comply with this additional requirement would not constitute a misdemeanor.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 3212.18 is added to the Labor Code, immediately following Section 3212.15, to read:

3212.18.
 (a) This section applies to all of the following:
(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.

(2) All of the following persons:
(A) A member of a police department of a city or county.
(B) A member of the sheriff’s office of a county.
(C) A member of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(D) An inspector or investigator in a district attorney’s office of any county, whose principal duties consist of active law enforcement service.
(E) A prison or jail guard or correctional officer who is employed by a public agency.
(F) A peace officer, as defined in Section 830.1, or subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 830.37, of the Penal Code, who is primarily engaged in active law enforcement activities.
(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) (A) Fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, “fire and rescue services coordinators” means coordinators who are in any of the following job classifications: coordinator, senior coordinator, or chief coordinator.
(5) Active firefighting members of a fire department that serves a United States Department of Defense installation and who are certified by the United States Department of Defense as meeting its standards for firefighters.
(6) Active firefighting members of a fire department that serves a National Aeronautics and Space Administration installation and who adhere to training standards established in accordance with Article 4 (commencing with Section 13155) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 12 of the Health and Safety Code.
(7) Active firefighting members of a fire department that provides twenty four hour fire protection to a passenger-carrying operation at fire protection to a commercial airport regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration under Part 139 (commencing with section 139.1) of Title 14 of the Federal Code of Regulations and are trained and certified by the State Fire Marshal as meeting the standards of Fire Control 5 and Section 139.319 of Title 14 of the Federal Code of Regulations.
(b) In the case of a person described in subdivision (a), the term “injury,” as used in this division, includes diagnosis of a communicable disease, including SARS-CoV-2, known as the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, that occurs on or after January 1, 2020, and that is the subject of a state public health emergency that is issued on or after January 1, 2020. For purposes of this section, the injury may occur prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. illness or death resulting from COVID-19, that is diagnosed on or after January 1, 2020, if all of the following circumstances apply:
(1) The person was diagnosed with or tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after a day that the employee performed labor or services at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction.
(2) A diagnosis as described in subdivision (b) was done by a physician and surgeon licensed by the Medical Board of California and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of diagnosis.
(3) If paragraph (1) is satisfied through a diagnosis of COVID-19, the diagnosis was done by a physician who holds a physician and surgeon license issued by the Medical Board of California and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of diagnosis.
(c) For an injury described in subdivision (b), the compensation shall include full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, as provided by this division.
(d) The injury so developing or manifesting itself in these cases shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment. This presumption is disputable and may be controverted by other evidence, but unless so controverted, the appeals board is bound to find in accordance with it. This presumption shall be extended to a person described in subdivision (a) following termination of service for a period of 30 days, commencing with the last date actually worked in the specified capacity. The date of injury shall be the last date the employee performed labor or services for the employer.
(e) Notwithstanding Section 5402, if liability for a claim of injury as defined in subdivision (b) is not rejected within 30 days after the date the claim form is filed pursuant to Section 5401, the illness injury shall be presumed compensable, unless rebutted by evidence only discovered after the 30-day period.
(f) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to fully compensate the peace officers, firefighters, and health care employees whose lives are placed at risk when they are exposed to or contract COVID-19 or other communicable diseases in the course of performing their duties. To that end, the Legislature finds and declares that whenever a state public health emergency, as described in subdivision (b), is declared, both of the following policies and goals should be implemented:
(A) Provision of or reimbursement for housing and living expenses related to an ordered quarantine.
(B) An employee who is directed to quarantine by a licensed health care professional, a public health officer or agency, or the employer as a result of exposure to injury as defined in subdivision (b) COVID-19 should be provided paid leave and should not be required to use the employee’s accrued vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, sick leave, or any other personal leave.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to strongly encourage the development and implementation of the policies and goals described in paragraph (1) in order to effectuate the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section.
(g) This section shall remain in effect only until July 1, 2024, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.Section 4663 of the Labor Code is amended to read:
4663.

(a)Apportionment of permanent disability shall be based on causation.

(b)A physician who prepares a report addressing the issue of permanent disability due to a claimed industrial injury shall address in that report the issue of causation of the permanent disability.

(c)In order for a physician’s report to be considered complete on the issue of permanent disability, the report must include an apportionment determination. A physician shall make an apportionment determination by finding what approximate percentage of the permanent disability was caused by the direct result of injury arising out of and occurring in the course of employment and what approximate percentage of the permanent disability was caused by other factors both before and subsequent to the industrial injury, including prior industrial injuries. If the physician is unable to include an apportionment determination in the physician’s report, the physician shall state the specific reasons why the physician could not make a determination of the effect of that prior condition on the permanent disability arising from the injury. The physician shall then consult with other physicians or refer the employee to another physician from whom the employee is authorized to seek treatment or evaluation in accordance with this division in order to make the final determination.

(d)An employee who claims an industrial injury shall, upon request, disclose all previous permanent disabilities or physical impairments.

(e)Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) do not apply to injuries or illnesses covered under Sections 3212, 3212.1, 3212.18, 3212.2, 3212.3, 3212.4, 3212.5, 3212.6, 3212.7, 3212.8, 3212.85, 3212.9, 3212.10, 3212.11, 3212.12, 3213, and 3213.2.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 6401 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

6401.
 (a) Every employer shall furnish and use safety devices and safeguards, and shall adopt and use practices, means, methods, operations, and processes which are reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe and healthful. Every employer shall do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees.
(b) Every employer shall provide or reimburse an employee for an employee with emergency equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides or is ancillary to other emergency equipment or PPE that provides protection from injury for the employee. A violation of this subdivision shall not be is not a violation of Section 6423.

SEC. 4.SEC. 3.

 Section 6403 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

6403.
 No employer shall An employer shall not fail or neglect to do any of the following:
(a) To provide and use safety devices and safeguards reasonably adequate to render the employment and place of employment safe.
(b) To adopt and use methods and processes reasonably adequate to render the employment and place of employment safe.
(c) To do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees.
(d) To provide or reimburse an employee for an employee with emergency equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides or is ancillary to other emergency equipment or PPE that provides protection from injury for the employee. A violation of this subdivision shall not be is not a violation of Section 6423.

SEC. 5.SEC. 4.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In light of the Governor’s declaration on March 4, 2020, of a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19, and because firefighters, peace officers, health care workers, and fire and rescue services coordinators who provide vital services during the state of emergency are at heightened risk for exposure to and death from COVID-19, in order to ensure that these persons are properly reimbursed for their out-of-pocket costs for the purchase of personal protective equipment, medical and living expenses, and temporary housing as soon as possible, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.