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Expanded Workers’ Compensation Protections for California Workers Under Time-Limited Executive Order

On May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ compensation benefits applicable to employees who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order.

Specifically, the order provides that, for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits, any COVID-19 related illness of an employee shall be “presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment” if the following four conditions are satisfied:

  • The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID19 within 14 days of working at the employee’s place of employment at the employer’s direction;
  • The employee worked at the employee’s workplace at the direction of the employer on or after March 19, 2020;
  • The employee’s place of employment was not the employee’s home or residence; and
  • The employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a physician who holds a physician and surgeon license issued by the California Medical Board and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.

The presumption is rebuttable and may be controverted by other evidence.  However, absent such evidence, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is bound to find that an employee’s COVID-19 infection arose in the course and scope of employment.

The presumption will stay in place for 60 days after issuance of the executive order. This could be a benefit for Employer’s since employee’s will have the exclusive remedy of worker’s compensation in most instances where they believe they contracted the case at work.

If you would like to learn more about Covid-19's impact on your business, visit our Resource Page

If you have questions about this new executive order, please contact Ghazaleh Modarresi, Attorney at Berliner Cohen, LLP at or (408) 286-5800.