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SB-335 Workers’ compensation: proceedings: payment delay.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/08/2021 09:00 PM
SB335:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 335


Introduced by Senator Cortese

February 08, 2021


An act to amend Section 5814 of the Labor Code, relating to workers’ compensation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 335, as introduced, Cortese. Workers’ compensation: proceedings: payment delay.
Existing law establishes a workers’ compensation system, administered by the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, to compensate an employee for injuries arising out of and in the course of their employment. Existing law requires that certain proceedings, including for the recovery of compensation, or concerning any right or liability arising out of or incidental thereto, be instituted before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Existing law authorizes the appeals board to fix and determine, in its award, the total amount of compensation to be paid and specify the manner of payment, or may fix and determine the weekly disability payment to be made and order payment during the continuance of disability. Existing law requires that when payment of compensation has been unreasonably delayed or refused, either prior to or subsequent to the issuance of an award, the amount of the unreasonably delayed or refused payment be increased up to 25% or up to $10,000, whichever is less, and the appeals board is required to use its discretion to accomplish a fair balance and substantial justice between the parties.
This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 5814 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

5814.
 (a) When payment of compensation has been unreasonably delayed or refused, either prior to or subsequent to the issuance of an award, the amount of the payment unreasonably delayed or refused shall be increased up to 25 percent or up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is less. In any a proceeding under pursuant to this section, the appeals board shall use its discretion to accomplish a fair balance and substantial justice between the parties.
(b) If a potential violation of this section is discovered by the employer prior to an employee claiming a penalty under pursuant to this section, the employer, within 90 days of the date of the discovery, may pay a self-imposed penalty in the amount of 10 percent of the amount of the payment unreasonably delayed or refused, along with the amount of the payment delayed or refused. This self-imposed penalty shall be in lieu of the penalty in pursuant to subdivision (a).
(c) Upon the approval of a compromise and release, findings and awards, or stipulations and orders by the appeals board, it shall be conclusively presumed that any accrued claims for penalty have been resolved, regardless of whether a petition for penalty has been filed, unless the claim for penalty is expressly excluded by the terms of the order or award. Upon the submission of any issue for determination at a regular trial hearing, it shall be conclusively presumed that any accrued claim for penalty in connection with the benefit at issue has been resolved, regardless of whether a petition for penalty has been filed, unless the issue of penalty is also submitted or is expressly excluded in the statement of issues being submitted.
(d) The payment of any increased award pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be reduced by any amount paid under subdivision (d) of Section 4650 on the same unreasonably delayed or refused benefit payment.
(e) No An unreasonable delay in the provision of medical treatment shall not be found when the treatment has been authorized by the employer in a timely manner and the only dispute concerns payment of a billing submitted by a physician or medical provider as provided in Section 4603.2.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a civil cause of action.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no action may law, an action shall not be brought to recover penalties that may be awarded under this section more than two years from the date the payment of compensation was due.
(h) This section shall apply to all injuries, without regard to whether the injury occurs before, on, or after the operative date of this section.

(i)This section shall become operative on June 1, 2004.