New Legislation - Latest California COVID-19 Reporting Requirements

Governor Newsom signed SB-1159 into law on September 17, 2020. The new law took effect on that day and addresses four areas California employers should be aware of.

  1. The legislation codifies and extends Executive Order N-62-20, which made COVID-19 cases contracted in the workplace a workers’ compensation illness. The law specifically indicates that an employee’s home or residence is not to be considered a workplace.   
  2. Includes additional sectors that the order applies to, including some health care workers and emergency responders. 
  3. Mandates new reporting requirements for employers with five or more employees, with some reporting requirements retroactive to July 6, 2020. The following situations must be reported to the organizations workers’ compensation claims administrator within 3 days.
    • Any employee that tests positive for COVID-19. The report must include the date that the employee tested positive (the date of the specimen collection) and the address or addresses of the employee’s work locations 14 days prior to the test date.
    • The highest number of employees that reported to work at the location(s) in a 45 day period preceding their potential exposure to the infected employee.
  4. The workers compensation claims administrator will use the reported information to determine the need to report an outbreak. 

Similar to Executive Order N-62-20, there is a disputable presumption of illness related to work. Employers should work closely with their workers’ compensation carrier regarding the reporting requirements as well as disputing a claim, if they believe the illness was not likely contracted at work.  

Failure to adhere to the new law could result in a penalty of up to $10,000.

See SB 1159 FAQ for further resources related to this new legislation.

About the Author

+Shawn Miller is a principal at Morrison, providing business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), special projects, and has greatest expertise in recruiting and People Services that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Shawn directly at smiller@morrisonco.net or via telephone at (530) 809-4680.

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