SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order establishing a new rebuttable presumption for employees who contract COVID-19 to be eligible for workers’ compensation (WC) benefits. The rebuttable presumption applies to all workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or were diagnosed with COVID-19 and confirmed by a positive test within 14 days of performing a labor or service at a place of work after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, 2020. The presumption will stay in place for 60 days after issuance of the executive order. Any worker infected with COVID-19 who contracted the virus on the job will be required to use all available state or federal sick leave prior to these benefits. This order applies only to those employees required to work outside of the home.

What’s a rebuttable presumption? Employers and their insurance companies can file a rebuttal challenging whether or not a worker’s claim is truly associated with “work”. However, they have the burden of proving the infection happened elsewhere. The Department of Industrial Relations will be issuing guidelines tomorrow on these claims and the employer rebuttal process. CAL SMACNA will issue an update upon their release.