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COVID-19 Resources

What Governor Newsom's Workers Compensation Order Means for NUHW Members

September 2020

WHAT WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PRESUMPTION MEANS FOR NUHW MEMBERS

Nearly 11 percent of Californians who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been healthcare workers. 37,531 healthcare workers in California had tested positive as of September 23, 2020, with 180 deaths statewide.

Given the clear threat to healthcare workers and all essential employees, on September 17, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 1159 that will make it much easier for essential workers who’ve contracted COVID-19 to receive workers compensation benefits. Earlier this year, Gov. Newsom issued an executive order to this effect, but that order expired on July 5, 2020. This new law effectively extends the terms of that executive order from July 6, 2020 until January 1, 2023.

Under the new law, workers in high-risk settings who test positive for COVID-19 — including police officers, firefighters, home care workers, and health care facility employees who provide direct patient care or who are custodial employees in contact with COVID-19 patients — are presumed to have contracted COVID-19 on the job and are therefore entitled to workers’ compensation covering lost wages and medical costs.

Employees must use up any paid sick leave benefits that have been made available to them specifically for COVID-19 before they can access benefits under SB 1159. Employers will have 30 days after a claim is filed to deny it.

For other healthcare facility employees, the presumption does not apply if the employer can show that the employee did not have contact with a COVID-19 positive patient of the facility within the 14-days prior to making a workers’ compensation claim.

This law takes effect immediately and covers cases retroactive to July 6, 2020.

To support NUHW’s members, we’ve made arrangements with attorneys who specialize in workers compensation issues to answer questions you may have about filing a claim.

  • If you’re based in Southern California, including Kern, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, you can contact the law firm of Ford & Wallach, and ask for Jason Swanson at 213-380-3140, extension 2209.
  • If you’re based in Northern California or the Central Valley north of Kern County, you can contact the law firm of Boxer & Gerson and ask for John Harrigan at 510-918-3500.

If you call, please tell them you’re an NUHW member. The consultation is free. If you end up filing a claim, the attorneys would only collect a standard contingency fee (a portion of your workers compensation settlement) if your case is successful.

If you have any questions related to COVID-19 and your workplace, please contact us at COVID19@nuhw.org.


May 2020

Nearly 11 percent of Californians who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been healthcare workers. 7,274 healthcare workers in California had tested positive as of Monday, May 11, 2020, including at least 31 NUHW members.

Given the clear threat to healthcare workers and all essential employees, on May 6, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will make it much easier for essential workers who’ve contracted COVID-19 to receive workers compensation benefits.

Under the executive order, workers will have presumptive eligibility for workers compensation benefits if they test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of working anytime after the statewide stay-at-home order was issued on March 19, 2020.

Because the governor’s order will be in place for only 60 days, we’re working with elected officials to pass a bill in the state legislature that would extend this system of presumptive eligibility into the future. Caregivers on the frontlines of this pandemic deserve the full protections and support of our workers compensation system.

To support NUHW’s members, we’ve made arrangements with attorneys who specialize in workers compensation issues to answer questions you may have about filing a claim.

If you’re based in Southern California, including Kern, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties, you can contact the law firm of Ford & Wallach, and ask for Jason Swanson at 213-380-3140, extension 2209.

If you’re based in Northern California or the Central Valley north of Kern County, you can contact the law firm of Boxer & Gerson and ask for John Harrigan at 510-918-3500.

If you call, please tell them you’re an NUHW member. The consultation is free. If you end up filing a claim, the attorneys would only collect a standard contingency fee (a portion of your workers compensation settlement) if your case is successful.

If you have any questions related to COVID-19 and your workplace, please contact us at COVID19@nuhw.org.

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