The Truth About California Employers’ COVID-19 Reporting Requirements
Senate Bill 1159 by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), which took effect immediately after it was signed into law on September 17 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, requires employers to retrospectively report positive employee COVID-19 tests that occurred between July 6 and September 17 by October 29. In addition, the law requires employers to report positive employee COVID-19 tests within three business days beginning on September 18 and going forward.
Changes to Workers’ Compensation Law
The bill modifies existing workers’ compensation law by defining an employee injury, when it occurs in the workplace, to include an illness or death resulting from COVID-19 under specific circumstances through January 1, 2023.
Under the new law, employers with five or more employees have a disputable burden to prove that the COVID-19 illness did not occur as a result of employment.
The presumption applies to dental offices when one of the following thresholds is met within 14 calendar days:
- Employers with five to 100 employees: Four or more employees test positive for COVID-19
- Employers with more than 100 employees: Four or more employees test positive for COVID-19
Employees must take all COVID-19-related paid sick leave before they can qualify for wage loss benefits through the workers’ compensation system.
Employers’ New Responsibilities
As soon as an employer knows or reasonably knows that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the employer shall notify their claims administrator within three days of the following:
- An employee tested positive for COVID-19
- The date the employee tested positive
- The address(es) of the employee’s workplace during the 14 days preceding the positive COVID-19 test date
- The total number of employees who reported to work at the employee’s workplace in the 45 days preceding the last day the employee worked at their workplace
Reporting Assistance For TDIC Policyholders
The Dentists Insurance Company (TDIC) has partnered with Sedgwick, a claims management services company, to simplify the claims reporting process and help policyholders fulfill their reporting obligations under the new law.
Employers can email claims data to Sedgwick, who will then run nightly calculations to determine if an outbreak has occurred at a policyholder’s practice.