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BioCommunique Article

Governor Newsom offered guidance and a checklist to be used by businesses as they begin to reopen.

Governor Announces COVID-19 Related Actions on Workers Comp, Re-Opening Life Science Facilities

  • 2020-05-15T19:00:00.000+0000
  • California
  • Author: Jimmy Jackson

In action announced on Tuesday, May 6th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order creating rebuttable presumption employees who are reporting to a workplace and become stricken with COVID-19 are entitled to California workers compensation benefits as a workplace caused condition (subject to certain criteria, such as exhausting any supplemental COVID-19 related sick leave programs the employer may have allowed).

The Order creates a “rebuttable presumption if they (an employee) tested positive for COVID-19 or were diagnosed with COVID-19 and confirmed by a positive test within 14 days of performing labor or service at a place of work after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, 2020. The presumption will stay in place for 60 days after issuance of the executive order.” This order effectively creates a window of 60 days where there is a legal presumption that an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 contracted it in the workplace for purposes of a worker's compensation claim.

On Thursday, May 7th, Governor Gavin Newsom released guidance for businesses re-opening under early Phase II of California’s four-phase plan. The guidance for life science companies can be found here, along with a checklist that companies can use as a resource in preparing to re-open, although it is noted there is a separate guidance and checklist for office workspaces. Individual counties may have orders that are more restrictive than the state’s, and in cases of conflict, the more restrictive local orders would take precedence over a broader state order.