The California legislature continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This week, the California Assembly will deliberate AB 664, offered up by Lorena Gonzalez (D-80) and Jim Cooper (D-9). The bill would amend the Labor Code to make available a presumption for COVID-19 infection for firefighters, police officers and health care workers. In some instances, the bill would make contracting the infection compensable.
Here are the facts:
- To be eligible, workers must be engaged in direct COVID-19 patient care.
- “Injury” now includes being sent into quarantine, even if the disease does not develop. This only applies if the governor declares a state of emergency.
- Reimbursement for personal protection equipment and temporary housing would be included in payments where applicable.
- The presumption is in effect 90 days after the last date of employment, regardless of the terms of employment termination.
If passed, this law will likely add a murky future for these types of claims, as there is no possible way to know if the infection was contracted at work. The legislature is essentially saying that that does not matter. Another consideration is the 90 day window. Based upon the currently-known behavior of the disease and its incubation period, many questions are likely to come up.
We will keep a close eye on developments and how they affect our clients.
Stay safe – SMS