On May 6, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20, which creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption that workers who are still reporting to their employer’s workplace and who test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, the Order provides that any COVID-19-related illness of an employee shall be “presumed to arise out of and in the course of the employment” if the following four conditions are satisfied:
- The employee tested positive or was diagnosed with COVID-19 infection within 14 days after the employee performed work at the employee’s place of employment;
- The employee’s services were performed at the employee’s workplace at the direction of the employer on or after March 19, 2020;
- The employee’s place of employment was not the employee’s home; and
- If the COVID-19 diagnosis was made without a positive COVID-19 test result, the diagnosis was made by a physician licensed by the California Medical Board and that diagnosis is confirmed by further testing within 30 days of the diagnosis.
The Order provides that the above presumption is rebuttable “and may be controverted by other evidence.” However, absent such evidence, the Order requires the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to find an employee’s COVID-19 infection arose in the course and scope of employment. The Order provides that this presumption shall apply only for injuries (i.e., COVID-19 infections) occurring in the 60-day period following the Order’s issuance.