Though the number of workers’ compensation claims have gone down in general, there has been a change in the types of claims being made.
On May 6, Governor Newsom’s executive order, N-62-20, came into effect.
This order presumed that workers who contracted Covid-19 between March 19 and July 5, under certain circumstances, had contracted it while on the job.
These workers would then be considered eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The order expired on July 5, but on September 17 California legislature passed Senate Bill 1159. This bill protects workers who may have contracted the virus while on the job after July 6, and remains in effect until January 1, 2023.
According to the bill, certain employees who test positive within 14 days of working on the job site can stay home while benefiting from workers’ compensation, hopefully reducing the spread of the virus.
This, of course, only applies to those whose job site is not at their own residence. The bill covers not only first responders and medical workers, but also those who do deliveries, grocery store employees, warehouse workers, and more.
Despite the new laws being made regarding Covid-19, not all of the claims are meeting requirements. Up to a third of the claims made are being denied for various reasons, such as lack of positive tests, refusal to be tested, or workers contracting the virus while working from home.
One interesting note to consider would be the varying costs due to claims from Covid-19 patients. The vast majority are fairly inexpensive, covering loss of wages for the 14 days that a worker stays home on quarantine.
A much smaller percentage, though, can cost employers up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are some patients, especially those with pre-existing conditions, who have required extended hospital stays and time in the ICU.
There is so little known about the long-term effects of Covid-19 for some, which could possibly turn into long-term care and higher costs for employers.
So what are some measures you can make as an employer right now?
● Prepare a written plan of how you are working to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in your workplace.
● Train employees and supervisors on how they can keep their workspace clean and safe from exposure to viruses.
● Make sure your employees know what measures you are taking to protect them in the workplace.
● Remind employees of the common symptoms of Covid-19 and encourage them to seek medical help if they are experiencing those symptoms.
As always, feel free to call me with any questions you may have about insurance topics.