As of January 1, 2024 – The California Worker’s Compensation Presumptions related to COVID-19 claims have expired. (SB1159).
In California, SB1159 was enacted on 9/17/20 to create presumptions for COVID-19 contracted in the workplace. There were two types of COVID-19 positive employees that the presumptions addressed; first responders/healthcare, and all other industries considered non-healthcare.
To comply with these presumptions, you were required to report all positive tested employees via claim form for first responders and health care workers, or for all other types of workers, via a COVID-19 Positive Test Form submitted by e-mail. In both scenarios, all California employers were required to report every COVID-19 positive test, regardless of whether work related.
AB 1751 was then enacted by Governor Newsom extending these presumptions from its original sunset date of 9/29/22, to 1/1/2024. Currently there is no legislation further extending COVID-19 presumptions.
You are no longer required to report employees with positive COVID-19 tests if the date of their test is after 1/1/2024.
If you are in the healthcare industry, you don’t have to report a claim, unless the employee has specifically stated that they would like to pursue workers’ comp. If you are not in the healthcare industry, you no longer need to complete the COVID-19 Positive Test Report Form. With that said, if an employee does test positive for COVID-19 and they ask to make a claim, it must be reported under normal procedures (like you would if they experienced any other work-related injury or illness). The 4 or more person “outbreak” scenario no longer exists now that we have passed 1/1/2024.
All claims with a date of injury later than 1/1/2024 will follow the standard Labor Code investigation procedures.
Employer Prevention Requirements
Regulations for employer prevention and handling of COVID-19 in the workplace remain in place through 2026. In addition, internal recording of all employees that test positive for COVID-19 remains in place through February 3, 2026, per Cal-OSHA Non-Emergency Standards (8 CCR 3205). You may be requested to produce this information.
For questions regarding your obligations to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace, and retain detailed records, please contact your labor attorney/consultant.