Learn What California Executive Order N-62-20 Might Mean for You
California Governor Newsom has recently signed an Executive Order to clarify what liability employers could have if their employees contracted the coronavirus COVID-19 while at work. Keep reading to learn more and if you have questions, remember that an employment law attorney may be able to help.
The Facts About Executive Order N-62-20
This Executive Order creates a rebuttable presumption about a person’s COVID-19 status and how it is related to their employment. It is relevant specifically to workers’ compensation cases. The Order states that if an employee is tested positive or otherwise diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of working at their employer’s location at the direction of their employer, then their positive status can be considered related to working. Note that this does not apply to people who worked virtually from home.
More About Who the Order Affects
In order for an employer to qualify, one of the following two facts must be proven:
- The employee tested positive for COVID-19 within two weeks of working
- The employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a physician within 14 days and was further tested and found to be positive for COVID-19 within 30 days of their original diagnosis
In both situations, the date of the injury must be between March 19th and July 5th, 2020.
What Does This Mean for Employees?
It means that if they are tested and found to be positive for COVID-19, the illness should be covered by workers’ compensation. However, it is disputable and if the employer can provide additional evidence to lay doubt that the disease was contracted at work, then the claim could eventually be denied. The employer must reject the claim within 30 days of it being filed. The only evidence that can be used to rebut the claim is evidence that was discovered during that 30-day period.
Employees Who Test Positive for COVID-19 Should Have Access to All Workers’ Compensation
Generally speaking, if an employee comes down with COVID-19 and is eligible for workers’ compensation as a result, they will get full benefits. This includes full hospital costs, surgical costs, all medical costs, and a disability indemnity if they have long-term repercussions. In the event they do not survive the disease, their survivors will be eligible for death benefits.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Technically speaking, there is no waiting period for temporary disability benefits in these cases, but an employee that has access to COVID-19 paid sick leave must use that before they use temporary disability.
What does this mean for you? It depends on your situation. In an ideal world, it would mean that anyone whose employer requires them to work would have coverage if working caused them to contract COVID-19. That said, these cases are not always that simple and it is often necessary for an employment law attorney to get involved.