Posts about COVID-19:

QME Evaluations via Telehealth

Because of the backlog of medical-legal evaluations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) adopted emergency regulations for medical-legal evaluations and reporting. The regulations became effective May 14, 2020, and originally were set to expire March 12, 2021. But they have been extended until Oct. 12, 2021.[1]

Special Report: Supplemental Sick Leave and Temporary Disability Overlap

On March 19, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 95 into law requiring most California employers to provide up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. The law went into effect on March 29, 2021, but the requirements applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2021. So, if an employee was eligible, an employer retroactively must pay the COVID-19 supplemental leave when the employee requests it, either orally or in writing. We published a detailed exposition of this new law last week.

Employer Alert: California Employers Must Provide 80 Hours of Paid COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave

On March 19, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 95, which extends and expands the requirement for employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19. The law places new paid leave requirements on most California employers, and it requires their immediate attention. Gov. Newsom explained the reason for the new law: “Paid sick leave gives workers the time they need to care for themselves and loved ones while keeping their co-workers, families, and community safe.” The law takes effect immediately, but includes a 10-day grace period for employers to start providing sick leave. Employers must begin providing the leave on March 29, 2021. The new law applies retroactively to Jan. 1, 2021, and will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2021. It’s enforced by the California Labor Commissioner.

Employer-Provided Vaccines and Workers' Compensation Liability

The labor lawyers at Michael Sullivan & Associates, LLC poses this scenario: An employer arranges vaccinations for its employees. A health-care employer provides its employees with vaccinations. An employer encourages its employees to get vaccinated. An employer tells employees that they may not return to work unless they are vaccinated. Then something goes wrong. An employee has an allergic reaction to the vaccine, or is injured. A claim is filed. Is this a valid work-related injury? The short answer probably is yes, in most cases. Special rules apply to health-care organizations that provide vaccinations to their employees. For all other employers, if the vaccination is caused at least in part by the employment, any resulting injury would be compensable.

Urgent Report: New Executive Order Reduces Quarantine Periods

Two weeks after Cal/OSHA voted and approved emergency COVID-19 regulations, Governor Newsom has issued an Executive Order (PDF) making changes. The changes are intended to relax certain rules to accommodate economic necessities within the confines of safety. They include a reduction in the mandatory quarantine periods, relaxed rules for migrant farm labor, and for retired employees who go back to work. There are also changes made to allow for extension of some tax returns, and appointments to administrative Boards.

Special Report: The WCAB Prepares Local Offices for Walk-Throughs

On Dec. 15, 2020, the WCAB issued its seventh en banc decision regarding COVID-19, “In Re: COVID-19 State of Emergency En Banc –– NO. 7.” This decision suspends CCR 10789(c) which applies to the assignment of judges for walk-through cases. The effect of this is to grant the local district offices the flexibility to manage walk-throughs. This should allow the local district offices, when they are reopened for walk-throughs, to reestablish walk-throughs in a way that their available resources will allow.