With COVID-19 causing much uncertainty for employers, California has introduced several new bills to address workers compensation, the classification of employees as well as on employee paid sick leave to protect employees during these unprecedented times. Please review the new labor laws below.

SB-1159 – COVID-19 Workers Compensation

  • Presumes an employee suffered a workplace injury if they contracted COVID-19 within 14 days from their last day at work (not at home) for dates from March 19th to July 5th, 2020
    • The employer has 30 days to reject the claim
  • Further presumes firefighters, rescue services, peace officers, certain medical providers, peace officers, and providers of in-home supportive care suffered a workplace injury if they contracted COVID-19 within 14 days of working at their place of employment after July 6th, 2020
    • The employer has 30 days to reject the claim
  • Presumes that an employee suffered a workplace injury if they contracted COVID-19 within 14 days at their place of employment after July 6, 2020, for employers with 5 or more employees if it occurred during an outbreak at the employee’s place of employment
    • For a business with 100 or fewer employees, it is considered an outbreak if 4 or more employees contract COVID-19 or 4% of large employers contract COVID-19
    • The employer has 45 days to reject the claim

AB-2257 – Clarifies the Dynamex ruling (AB-5) and who is subject to the ABC test to be reclassified as employees

  • Exempts certain types of contractors from the AB-5 ruling
    • Proofers and record directors in the music industry
    • Persons who perform the following in the insurance industry: underwriting inspections, premium audits, risk management loss control work
    • Home inspectors
    • Work between two sole proprietors or separate entities for “single-engagement” events
    • Individual performance artists
    • Manufactured housing salespersons
    • Competition judges
    • Individuals engaged in international exchange visitor programs
    • Data aggregators
    • Recording artists
    • Songwriters, lyricists, composer
    • Recording artist managers
    • Record producers
    • Various musical engineers and creators of sound recordings
    • Vocalists (with some exceptions)
    • Photographers working on recording photo shoots, album covers, and other press and publicity purposes
    • Independent radio promoters,
    • Music publicists
    • Still photographers, photojournalists, videographers, photo editors, freelance writers, editors, illustrators, newspaper cartoonists (if certain criteria are met)

AB-1867Small Employer Paid Sick Leave Mediation

  • DFEH Mediation Pilot Program (Department of Fair Employment and Housing)
    • The DFEH is required to create a mediation pilot program for small businesses related to claims about paid family sick leave. Under that program, an employer or employee has the right to require that the parties participate in DFEH mediation if 1) the DFEH issues a right-to-sue notice to an employee where the employee’s DFEH complaint is related to family leave and 2) the named employer has between 5-19 employees. This provision remains in effect until January 1, 2024.
  • Provisions related to employees in the food sector
    • Employees working in any food facility must be permitted to wash their hands every 30 minutes and additionally as needed
    • Codifies Executive Order N-51-20 by mandating supplemental paid sick leave for food sector workers if they are unable to work due to any of the specified reasons relating to COVID-19. This provision applies retroactively to April 16, 2020.
    • AB-1867 has not yet been signed but has passed the senate and assembly

As an employer, it is your responsibility to review the changes to the labor laws to protect your business from any unwanted liability. Please contact your local employment attorney for any legal advice. At Solid Health Insurance Services, we strive to keep our local businesses informed about the constantly changing labor laws. Please contact us for a free worker’s compensation, general liability, or business owner policy quote as well as for group health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance.