On May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order establishing a rebuttable, time-limited legal presumption that certain cases of COVID-19 arise out of and occur in the course of employment for purposes of workers’ compensation coverage. This order was signed after much debate in the insurer, employer and injured worker communities, and was different in important ways from earlier drafts as well as from the presumption bills that are currently under consideration in the legislature.
Even with this executive order in place, the determination of coverage is still the right and responsibility of the insurance carrier. The order contains a host of conditions that must be met. In addition, the insurance carrier will still conduct their investigation and make a coverage determination according to the law which now includes evaluation under this executive order. This order does not circumvent the workers’ compensation insurance carrier’s claims process. As such, an employer is not obligated to advise, nor should they advise an employee that their illness or injury (including COVID-19) will be covered by workers’ compensation. Upon notice from an employee of a work-related illness or injury including COVID-19, the employer should follow their standard reporting guidelines and file a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
In May 2020, Keenan & Associates published a summary of the important aspects of Executive Order N-62-20 along a Q&A. Click below to learn more; and contact your Sequoia Risk Advisor if you have any questions about how the Governor’s executive order impacts your worker’s compensation program.
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