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SPECIAL REPORT: WCAB Reinstates Remaining Rules Suspended Due to COVID

On March 22, 2023, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) issued its ninth, and possibly final, en banc decision regarding COVID-19, “In Re: COVID-19 State of Emergency En Banc –– No. 9.” Because Governor Newsom terminated the state of emergency in response to COVID-19 as of Feb. 28, 2023, the WCAB announced that it was rescinding all remaining en banc decisions which had temporarily suspended specific WCAB Rules of Practice and Procedure, effective as of the date of the decision. Specifically, the WCAB announced the following decisions were rescinded:

  1. Case No. Misc. No. 260 which temporarily suspended CCR 10500(b)(6) regarding required witness signatures on compromise and releases (C&Rs).
  2. Case No. Misc. No. 261 which temporarily suspended CCR 10940(b) regarding electronic filing of documents with the WCAB.
  3. Case No. Misc. No. 266 which temporarily suspended CCR 10789(c) regarding walk-through assignment hours.

So as of yesterday, any C&R submitted for approval must have witness signatures.

Also, as of yesterday, electronic submissions to the appeals board may not be submitted by email, unless otherwise ordered.

Finally, as of yesterday the local District offices may not set their own walk through hours. Rather the regulation requires walk through hours of 8am to 11am, and 1pm to 4pm on court days.

The WCAB had previously rescinded suspension of some of its rules; this is the last change needed to return to the pre-COVID ways of doing things. Because all COVID-19 orders have been rescinded, the parties and the WCAB must comply with the WCAB Rules of Practice and Procedure moving forward.

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